The knights didn't see her.
How lax they are, chuckling, she let herself out of the gate. Her quick pace led her into the darkness of the woods. It tickled her to have slipped in and out unnoticed.
Her waiting had paid off. The night of the engagement party had been just the beginning. It may have taken her twenty years of lying low and planning, but she was ready. It may be unfair to give the King an advantage by warning him of her vengeance, but she couldn't stop herself from making sure he knew exactly who was behind the upcoming attack.
All her hard work was about to come to fruition. Her suffering would be justified.
She paused and turned to look back. Having come far enough and deep enough into the forest, she couldn't see any light from the entrance she had just walked through.
However, it was satisfying enough to know she'd left the note behind.
“You will remember, Tritium, that I warned you. So many years ago, I warned you. You would not listen. If only you had listened. For now, it is too late. Too late!”
Walking forward, she continued, “I warned you. Yes, I did. Warned you then, but you wouldn't listen. I will have my revenge.”
Then her mutters turned into a soft whisper and she sang,
“The darkness rises, on wings of hate.
Discontent is well-fed of late.
You hear the whisper.
You hear the call.
He rises to destroy us all.
The blackness comes on wings of fire.
All will burn under his ire.
No one can escape,
this awful dread and wait.
Do you see? Do you see?
The darkness rises on wings of hate.”
Her laughter echoed throughout the woods. Animals paused and cocked their ears. Birds hushed their songs and tilted their heads. Eyes darted back and forth everywhere.
Evil drew near. Evil was upon them. They ran and hid and tucked themselves back into their holes. They recognized the voice. The voice of hate.
A witch was calling upon the darkness, and they wanted no part of it.
Amazon and Goodreads 5-Star Reviews:
“I love the twisted fairy tale genre and this book is a very good read.” ~Suzy Kenski
“I loved this book! It was fun and quirky. Couldn’t wait to pick it up each night and see what would happen next.” ~Amazon Customer
“Five Stars…Great weekend read!” ~Kristen Bombgardner
“I have read a lot of fairy tale spinoffs. This one kept me interested. It had the classic Cinderella story line but with different characters and a nice, surprising twist at the end. I enjoyed reading this book!” ~Sarah Kirn
"Five Stars. Good story." ~Laura
Other books in this genre:
“The troops are here, Sire.” The butler held his head high and stood in the doorway, hands clasped behind his back. “They have armed themselves and are ready to leave at your command.”
“How many?” the king asked as he put on his uniform, his burgundy hair tucked behind his ears and ready for the helmet he would put on for protection. His blue-green eyes searched for any flaw in his armor.
Every piece shielded him from head to toe in a body vest made of the sturdiest laminated fibers and felt like a second skin upon his tall, muscular body. It would protect him from every form of combat, including fire.
The advancements in technology over the last 3,000 years would be of great benefit to him today. He didn’t just want the best technology science could create and money could buy. He wanted the power to do whatever he wanted. Just as the Second Kingdom had.
Since WWIII, the First Kingdom and Second Kingdom had created a contract to avoid future wars between their two countries. They had divided the remaining land and claimed truce. The remnants of the seven continents were now merged into two.
King Ezra was in charge of the well-being and progress of the First Kingdom. Queen Ada was in charge of the Second. However, news of the Second Kingdom’s advancements into sorcery and magical power made the King twitch for the same. He should be able to possess what they controlled. Otherwise, WWIV was inevitable.
“Approximately 25,000 men from all over the Kingdom, Your Highness. Every man eighteen and over has arrived and trained for what is to come. Are you certain you wish to do this, Sire?”
Blue-green eyes peered at the butler with darkening irises.
“Buford, do you dare question your king?” His voice was sweet and smooth like water steadily pouring over pebbles.
Buford's eyes blinked and moved to the floor. His face scrunched before he shook his head and said, “No, Your Highness.”
“Then kindly tell the men to get into formation and prepare to march. For today, we will defeat the Second Kingdom's power. We will conquer them and unite into one Kingdom.”
“Yes, Sire,” Buford responded, and then walked out into the hall with a shudder.
With head bowed and slow steps, Buford walked down the hallway praying the young king would change his mind. He wasn't the only one who knew the king was walking toward certain death.
Sighing, he opened the doors and motioned to the Secretary of War to step forward, “The king is ready to attack.”
His whispered words were sent with another shudder, and he looked into the dark eyes of the grizzled man before him, exchanging a silent nod and raised brows.
“He won’t be swayed? There has been peace for almost 3,000 years,” the secretary pleaded.
Buford shook his head. The secretary sighed before walking to the edge of the steps to announce the king's command.
Lightning ripped across the northern California sky, then splintered down through the rain and disappeared behind our neighbor’s house. Letting the door slam shut behind me, I ran away from the warmth of our porch light into the darkness of our backyard. My mom would’ve killed me if she’d caught me outside that late at night. Especially in a thunderstorm, and on the night before my fifteenth birthday, with the big party she had planned for tomorrow. But I had to get out of the house before I fell asleep and they came for me. And they were coming!
A gust of wind blew my hair against my face. I swiped it out of my eyes just in time to see a plastic lawn chair tumbling through the air. I covered my head with both arms, but a leg of the chair smashed against my elbow. Ouch!
I dropped onto the wet grass, pulled my knees into my chest, and rocked nervously back and forth. Water soaked up through my nightgown and my underwear, making me shiver.
None of these things mattered, though. Because something far worse was happening inside my head. A memory of me as a little girl, on the night my grandpa Dahlen disappeared from his cottage, was trying to claw its way into my consciousness. And I didn’t want to think about that night. Ever.
Still, I couldn’t stop it, which didn’t make sense. I was awake, and outside, where I was supposed to be safe, yet the aliens from my dreams were somehow messing with my thoughts, rearranging things, trying to make me think about that night! But how?
And why? It happened eight years ago, and my grandpa was dead now.
Although, before he disappeared, he’d—
No! Stop, Courtney! I yelled at myself.
I bit my fingernail and took a deep breath, hoping to calm down.
No luck. I was remembering the musty old-books smell from my grandpa’s bookcase. Butterflies rushed into my stomach and I sprang to my feet.
“All right. Is that what you want me to do?” I shouted into the rainy darkness. “Remember my grandpa? What happened that night? If I do that, then will you leave me alone?”
I wiped the rain from my eyes, and suddenly it was like I was right there, in the cottage. His notebook sat on the plaid couch, opened to a map he’d drawn of the ancient wormholes linking the alien world to our own.
I stumbled backward over a tree root and my butt hit the ground; my head clunked against an even bigger root. Oww! I started to sit up. But suddenly the memory I’d been running from took over the screen in my mind. I fell back into the wet grass and watched the scene unfold as if I were seven years old again, right there in the cottage.
It was raining outside, and the air smelled like old, musty books and burnt hamburgers. I glanced over at my grandpa Dahlen. He was busy in the kitchen, forking ears of corn out of a pot of boiling water. Standing tiptoe on the comfy reading chair, I reached up to the bookcase and ran my fingers along the dials of what he called his ham-radio/alien-transport machine.
“Courtney!” Grandpa stared at me over his steamed-up glasses.
“Fine.” I plopped down on the reading chair and crossed my arms over my chest. Then I lowered my eyes. Blood was seeping through my shirt again from earlier in the day, when my grandpa’s nun friend had stopped by with a guy with a tattoo gun. They’d come to give me a tattoo. I hadn’t wanted a tattoo! But my grandpa had told me it was important, and the way he’d said it, I’d believed him. So now I had a blue mark on my rib cage that looked like four dead bugs arranged in a square.
“So tell me this, Grandpa,” I said. “If these aliens who visit you are really your friends, then why do they make you keep everything secret?”
He turned away from the steaming pot and eyed me with suspicion. “Because people are frightened of what they don’t understand. And frightened people can be dangerous, Courtney,” he said. “Now come sit down for dinner.”
I slipped into a wobbly kitchen chair, rested my elbows on the wooden table, and stared down at my burnt ham- burger. “Mom doesn’t believe in aliens, so does that make her dangerous?” I asked.
Grandpa chuckled. “Your mother is only interested in facts and evidence. Even when she was a child, she had no tolerance for intangibles. Or even comic books, for that matter. Can you imagine?” He set a plate of corn on the cob in the center of the table, then sat down across from me. “But dangerous? No. I think we’re safe from her.” He flashed me a wink.
I winked back. People always told me that I shared his silvery-blue eyes. Hearing someone say it would make my mom cringe, though, because she thought Grandpa was crazy. And the last thing she wanted was for me to turn out like him. But she and my dad were spending the weekend with their old law school friends on Lake Tahoe, so they’d dropped me off with Grandpa on their way.
“Well, if these alien things are real living creatures, then did God make them?” I asked. “Or are they just imaginary?”
I smiled proudly. I was about to finally get the truth from him.
“How’s your burger?” he asked.
“But you didn’t answer—”I started to protest, when a bang on the front door made me jump.
My grandpa ran over and covered his ham-radio/alien-transport machine with an afghan.
More quick pounding! Grandpa shoved his notebook under the couch.
I tried to read his expression, to see if he was frightened or just cleaning up, but he wouldn’t look at me. He rushed to the door and glanced through the peephole, and I held my breath.
When he unlocked the door, three men barged into the cottage.
I immediately recognized them as professor friends of my grandpa’s from when he’d taught at Berkeley. But what were they doing out here at night? I mean, hadn’t they heard of cellphones?
They stared over at me. “Hello, Courtney,” said one, a tall man with a thick beard and black suitcoat.
I shot my grandpa a pleading look, like Make them go away. But he quickly shook his head. I stomped into the guest bedroom and slammed the door.
“They’re coming,” one of the men whispered, loud enough for me to hear. He sounded worried. Which made me worry. About what, though, I wasn’t quite sure.
I bit my thumbnail, and it tasted like wormy dirt from the woodpile. Gross! I wiped my mouth with the bottom of my shirt.
“She’s not safe,” another man said.
Not safe? I froze. “She”? As in me? My heart started racing, and suddenly I couldn’t get enough air into my lungs.
I grabbed the black metal latch of the window next to me and opened it. The chirr-chirr of crickets filled the bedroom, and I breathed in the smell of wet leaves. Pressing my face against the screen, I glanced up at my grandpa’s ham radio tower, standing tall along the side of the house. The siren on top of it glistened with rain under the silvery moon. It would sound off if any bad guys snuck into the backyard and tried to mess with my grandpa’s things. Or that’s what he’d told me, anyway.
Suddenly a familiar shiver trickled down my neck. Oh wow!
I turned away from the window and locked eyes with Astra. “Nice of you to show up,” I said.
She was a few years older than me. Like eleven, maybe. She was sitting cross-legged on the floor next to the closet; her eyes shone bright green against her pale skin and black hair. She bit into her plump bottom lip, which meant she was worried about me. “You think I’m going to climb out the window and run away?” I asked her.
She didn’t answer. For an imaginary friend, she wasn’t very talkative. But she seemed to show up whenever I was in trouble. And there was no getting rid of her; our minds were connected. My grandpa said she was probably a real person somewhere, and that we shared consciousness because we came from the same bloodline. As crazy as the idea seemed, I liked to think that there might be someone real out there who would understand me if we ever crossed paths. Most people just thought I was weird like my grandpa.
“I’m glad you’re here,” I told Astra.
Outside my door, I could hear the men pacing around on the creaky wooden floor boards.
“When?” my grandpa asked.
“We don’t know,” another man said.
I didn’t like the sound of that. My stomach tightened with nerves. I sat down on my bed and rocked back and forth, staring at Astra.
“You’re crying,” she said. Or I could hear her voice in my head, anyway.
“No I’m not.” I swiped my cheek. Then I looked down at the spot of blood on my shirt. “I got a tattoo,” I said, trying to change the subject.
A siren wailed outside. The alarm! I jumped up, turned toward the window. But the bedroom door burst open behind me. I spun back around, and my grandpa stood in the doorway.
“Grandpa! What’s happening?” I started toward him. He quickly shook his head and then pressed his finger to his lips: Stay quiet.
Grandpa looked scared. And he was never scared. My heart pounded against my rib cage. Astra was gone. This was bad.
Bright light lit up my grandpa’s face. It was coming through the window behind me. Oh no! I whipped around to see who was there, and someone grabbed me from inside the room.
I started to scream, but a hand covered my mouth. My feet lifted off the floor. Frantically I twisted my head around to see who it was, but I was being dragged backward, down the hall, into the bathroom. Kicking at the bathroom wall, I bit into the hand covering my mouth, and for a second my head was free. I whirled around to see my grandpa, his finger gushing blood from where my teeth had cut into his skin.
“Grandpa? What are you doing?”
He whispered something in my ear. Then he lifted me up, ignoring my flailing legs.
The next thing I knew, I was underwater. Screaming!
For Caleb and Liam, a pair of close-knit brothers who have trouble fitting in at school, the Southwest desert around their home offers a place where their imaginations can run wild.
But as their explorations take them farther from home, a sinister darkness begins to invade their happy adventures -- a darkness that is far more real than what their imaginations can conjure up. And when they collect souvenirs from an abandoned house that turn out to be powerful talismans connected to a mysterious shadow land, strange events and people begin intruding into their lives. Along the way, the brothers acquire some new friends -- including two ghosts and a reclusive neighbor -- who give them valuable insights into the darkness they are fighting.
Will the evil from the shadow land gain control over Liam and Caleb so that the doorway to Earth remains open? Or will they learn to keep the secrets necessary to survive and become free from the evil that is attempting to absorb them into its dimension?
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
While on a quest for the other “keys,” Dhellia recovers two artifacts that contain the most dangerous secrets on Earth, ones that could, in the wrong hands, turn the tables between good and evil. Dhellia gears up to prepare to battle “downstairs” in a way that no one ever has--aside from her mother.
Dhellia is a funny, fresh and sassy, fast-paced series about a young woman whose birthright is princess of the underworld—she’s mad as Hell about it, and is determined to use her powers to beat her father at his own game!
Aria Vanir, psychic tween girl from Virginia Beach, trusts only her mother with the knowledge of her predictions and remote viewings. When Aria connects with technically and spiritually advanced aliens—the Gallions—she instead confides in her best friend, Tommy Manger. His unexpected anger and betrayal threatens to end their friendship.
Nashata, Queen Supreme of the Gallions, leads a diplomatic mission with her royal family to Earth so she can test Aria for potential first contact. The queen trusts only this “youngirl” with the secrets of her people.
When the Gallions beam Aria, Tommy, and Aria’s tomboyish teen sister, Jackie, aboard their spaceship, Aria’s typically passive mother makes a daring move to save her daughters. None of them realize that the military has sent Aria’s Navy SEAL father, William, on a mission to capture the good aliens or destroy their spaceship. Worse, William has no idea that he’s putting his daughters and their friend in harm’s way.
Can Aria succeed in her quest to meet the alien queen in person, despite the fears and disbeliefs of those closest to her?
A feud, which has been unsettled for centuries…
A vampire leader, determined to sacrifice his army…
A werewolf clan, ready to invade its greatest enemy…
A town on the verge of destruction, its secrets buried in a Native American legend…
This is Apollo’s story
In a hurry to leave the forest of Stockwood, Washington, and the feud between his vampire family and his werewolf bloodline, Apollo and Sophie flee to a neighboring town in order to seek a “normal” life together.
Protecting Sophie is the only thing on Apollo’s mind—until he finds himself in the middle of a town with a deadly secret—a secret which includes everyone he loves.
Now caught between his duties to protect the vampire family that raised him, share his life with the woman he loves and unravel the town’s secrets, which could destroy everyone, Apollo makes a choice. Determined to do the right thing, Apollo’s world is torn apart, causing him to unleash his rage on everything in his path.
This novella marks the first volume in a series of adventures for the young Cyrillus Severus, making his way across Europe. The young hero embarks on a great adventure away from home, encountering a number of peculiar characters and difficult scenarios. Any reader is sure to be delighted and intrigued by this tale of beauty, independence & the strength of the human spirit.
I'm Dhellia Hunt, princess of the underworld. Daughter of Lucifer and Adana. This is my story.
Being princess of the underworld has its perks, but being imprisoned for all eternity with undesirable duties cast upon her is not one of them.
When Dhellia runs away from home, she never expects her father, Lucifer to become her brutal enemy.
Little does she know that when she abandons her birthright to the underworld, it comes at a heavy price. Fighting for her life and on the run, Dhellia must discover powers she never knew she had to survive.
The Public Be Damned
Someone tapped my shoulder as I waited for the light to change on the corner of 23rdand Park. "Excuse me, said a blonde-haired, blue-eyed woman from today's Political Science class at Manhattan University. "Your name is Kevin, right?"
"Why are you wearing that shirt?"
I glanced down at the image of Shannon Kistler on the front. "Oh-I like her."
"Why?" She winced.
"Adam liked Eve, Romeo liked Juliet, Anthony liked Cleopatra .. .it's a tradition, I guess."
"But her music is juvenile."
"So I've heard."
The streetlight changed, but my classmate stared at me as we crossed Park Avenue. I walked up 23rd Street to the bus stop at the Flatiron Building, my backpack full of newly purchased textbooks. Halfway up the block, a guy in a three-piece suit who talked on a cell phone glanced at my shirt as he walked toward me. "Wait a second," he muttered. "Man," he snarled at me, "I can't believe someone like you put on that shirt."
"And I can't believe someone like you got off your phone to tell me so."
He frowned and walked away as I continued toward Broadway. At the Flatiron Building 1 stood in my usual nook, watching for my express bus home. The sidewalk was practically empty, but I caught the attention of a curly-haired guy, maybe a year or two older than me, strolling toward Union Square with a friend. The guy tapped his friend's shoulder and pointed at me, but I waved him off before he yelled at me.
The traffic on Broadway was as thin as the pedestrians on the sidewalk. The other Staten Island-bound express buses stopped by the building regularly, but my wait for the X12 was always longer for one stupid reason or another. I already spent a whole year waiting for many things, including the bus, and I knew that wouldn't change any time soon, especially with everything I still had to learn about accounting before I got my BBA
An early September breeze blew through my hair as a black limo stopped at the light on 22nd Street. I couldn't guess who was inside-a bridal party, a foreign dignitary, or a corporate big shot. But I was hypnotized by the long car, watching it roll down Broadway and onto 21st Street after the light changed.
"Excuse me," a black man in a parka and a wool hat said, "you got any change to spare?"
"No, I don't. I'm sorry."
"Hey, you don't gotta be sorry, okay? You don't got it, you don't got it. That's all. You don't gotta be sorry for nothin'. People always gettin' into trouble 'cause they sorry for stuff they can't control, and we got all these world problems because people do a lotta shit they sorry about later. And that uses up a lotta energy, you know? They can use that energy to do other stuff."
He clamped a hand on my shoulder, to my horror. "Look, man," he continued, pointing, "you a young guy. You don't need none ofthat shit, okay? You don't gotta worry about nothin' but the rest of your life. You got lotsa time to do whatever you please, and bein' sorry ain't gonna help you. So you don't got the change, you don't got the change, and that's the way it goes. You don't gotta be sorry about it, okay? Don't be sorry. You got it, don't you?"
Yeah. I'm sorry I apologized. I nodded slightly, trying not to roll my eyes.
"Yeah, you get it." He smiled, showing off his yellow teeth. "You get it. You a good guy. Go get yourself some nice pussy." He slapped my shoulder and marched off.
Oh, no, you did NOT use the P-word on me...
"Hey, mister," a girl's voice yelled, "you got a nice shirt on!"
"Thank-YOU!! HOLY SHIT!!" It was Shannon Kistler herself, calling to me from the limousine sitting at the light a few moments ago. She laughed, ducked inside and rolled up the window. I snatched my backpack and chased after her, but the heavy textbooks slowed me down, and she made a swift getaway.
Two minutes later an X12 finally pulled up. "How you doin'?" asked the driver after he opened the doors.
"Hanging in there, thanks," I fumbled, paying the fare.
"School started again?" he asked, pulling away from the curb.
"Yeah," I muttered.
"You don't seem happy about it."
"I had a long day." 1 would've said why 1 really didn't seem happy, but he'd never buy it.
"Well, pick a seat and take a snooze," he said. "You look like you could use it."
''I'm way ahead of you."
He chuckled as I grabbed a window seat and followed his advice.
"Hello, everyone," I said, entering and dropping my backpack on the stairs. "Hi, Kevin," my sixteen-year-old brother Russell and fourteen-year-old sister Stacy sang while they watched television. "Hi, Kevin," Mom said from the kitchen. "How did the first day go?" "Like the last day of last semester." I hung up my sweatshirt, hearing Dad yell on the phone upstairs. "Dinner will be ready soon," Mom announced. "You can take a quick shower." "I did-this morning," 1 said, walking toward the basement door with my backpack. "Another one will make you feel better after today," she said, stirring the tomato sauce.
Isn't she blunt.
In my bedroom a poster of Shannon hung on the wall above my bed, but I still had no idea why I was smitten with her. Last summer's hit "Dream World" was so cheesy, my stomach spun whenever I heard it on the radio. The lyrics contained no creative thought, and I decided it sounded like a rush job. As the hits came off her first CD, though, I became impressed when I found out she not only wrote songs, but she also had a recording studio in her basement.
Although I was surrounded by thousands of other fans at her concert at the Garden State Arts Center this past July, I never felt so isolated in my life. But when Shannon hit the stage, singing with passion and dancing with enthusiasm, I felt like 1 got my money's worth. Some company would've cheered me up about seeing the show, but my friends weren't interested.
I was drawn to a career in the recording industry, so I took a guitar class as a high school freshman and spent the next summer teaching myself more than I already learned in the class. I believed I could hit it big despite the stories I heard of recording artists busting their asses for success. But 9/ 11 reminded me my head belonged on my shoulders instead of in the clouds, so I chose to crunch numbers without giving it much thought.
I still had a flicker of hope for a musical career, but I was astounded by Shannon's confidence and determination, two qualities I sorely lacked if I wanted anyone to respect me as a performer. Of course, being cute as hell didn't hurt her either.
But those qualities I saw in Shannon didn't matter to some Jewish Society members at school. Avi Cohen and Yaakov Friedman, for example, wouldn't shut up about my shirt when they laid eyes on it. Whenever someone entered the office while the three of us were there during the day, Avi and Yaakov pointed me out. They didn't welcome any other members back or ask them about their summers or their classes. The first words out of their mouths were about my clothes. When I left the office in the afternoon for my Political Science class, they were deep into a conversation about Shannon because 1 saluted her.
Whatever their gripes were, I figured they were disappointed because I didn't want to roll in the hay with Shannon. Back in high school I enjoyed talking about girls with my friends during lunch. But when some explicit details crept into the discussion, I was reminded those views of girls would be useless to me in winning someone over. 1 didn't care if the next man let his libido control him, as long as he didn't expect me to behave the same way. After today, though, I was sure Avi and Yaakov wouldn't be the only ones to hold those values against me.
Nor was it the first time anyone instantly disliked me because I followed my heart. When my family and I moved into the condominium in 1991, Russell and I made friends with the other kids while Stacy was still discovering the world around her. Our arrival inspired the other parents to gather the kids together for activities we might do in summer camp: sing-a-longs, arts and crafts, and games like Duck Duck Goose and Red Rover. I ate it up.
A compelling true story about a young man who ventured on the wrong path despite a mother’s best efforts to keep him on the straight-and-narrow path. This honest collection of memoirs written by Charles Carpenter while in the confines of California’s notoriously violent state prison (New Folsom) depicts Mr. Carpenter’s early years and details what led to his membership with the faction of Crips known as “Tray-Five-Seven.”
The book explains how a young man became fixated on a life of crime and through a distorted perception, viewed the gang subculture as a normal way of life. The Charles Carpenter story is a brutally honest account of his experiences in various juvenile facilities during the 1980’s and the members of various gangs he met during his unfortunate stints of incarceration.
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Yellowstone protocol is now available in print ( https://www.amazon.com/dp/1549765582 ) The story follows both Layla as she desperately tries to stay hidden from her pursuers