Kerry sat on her bed, headset on, playing her favourite video game. She was pitted against an online buddy from California. And she was kicking his ass. Her parents were asleep on the other side of the house, their bedroom door closed. It was way past midnight but Kerry wasn’t tired. She was a night owl, who’d probably sleep till the early afternoon, much to her parent’s annoyance. The room was dark, save for the light from the screen. That’s how she liked it. It made the game seem more real, like she was in a movie theatre. The top window was open a crack, letting in the sea air. She always slept with the window open, whatever the season. It had been a warm night with a pleasant breeze blowing in from the ocean. Now as she sat cross legged in a pair of joggers and vest top she started to feel a chill. She pulled the duvet up over her shoulders to keep warm. The video game was in mid battle and she didn’t want to pause it to put her bed socks and fleece on. She would do that later. She heard a cat howl in the distance, like it was squaring up for a fight. Her cat, Gizmo was out somewhere. Probably patrolling the gardens, garages, and roadway at the back of the houses she guessed. She heard another howl, making her look around at the window. It had become misty outside. Not like normal. Really misty, cold too. She paused the game, her buddy forgotten. Taking her headphones off, she slid from the bed and shuffled to the window. The mist was really thick. It seemed to stick to the glass, swirling and pulsating. She’d never seen mist like this. She shivered involuntarily, hugging herself to keep warm. She could not even make out the garage at the bottom of the garden, such was the thickness of the fog. She placed her hands on the sill to try to look to the house next door. As she did so she knocked the frame containing Jake’s buttons. They fell to the floor, landing in a muted clunk on the carpet.
“Shit,” she said, scooping them up. “What the,” she said, holding the frame. It was freezing. She set them down on the sill, rubbing her cold hand on her joggers. A deep drone from outside made her look up suddenly. She broke out in gooseflesh, hugging herself tighter. Something was wrong out there. Was it a ship’s horn? she thought. There it was again. What the fuck is it? She peered left and right, trying to see into neighbouring gardens. Nothing. It was like pea soup. She looked towards the garage at the bottom of the garden, noticing for the first time two glowing red points of light in the air. Her face looked puzzled. “What the hell is that,” she murmured. They vanished for a split second then reappeared. They looked to Kerry like far off car lights. She shuddered again, feeling increasingly cold. Something started moving on the sill. She looked down to see that the frame was gently vibrating. What the hell is happening, she thought. She watched it transfixed as it gently rotated on the white painted sill. She looked out the window to see that the red orbs seemed closer. Her heartbeat was now racing, her breathing constricted. She turned and grabbed her inhaler from the shelf, administering a double blast as she felt a panic coming on. She sighed heavily, placing both hands on the sill to try to steady herself. The frame suddenly shot left, shattering against the wall making her gasp. She pulled the top window closed and dove onto her bed, pulling the duvet all around her. She lay there shivering, her breathing hoarse, teeth chattering. She tried not to look out of the window. She buried her face in her pillow, trying to shut everything out. Something in her head was telling her to look. Something in the back of her brain was cajoling her to take a peek. She moved her head right, opening one eye. Nothing. The mist was still there though. She sat up in bed and looked at the window. She rubbed her eyes with the palm of her hands. Kerry opened her eyes, looking at the window. Looking at two red eyes, staring in at her. She could make out the shape of a head too, floating in the mist. She screamed, crashing back into the wall.
May 02, 2017 Kelly Miles rated it it was amazing
2nd book in the series following Unknown, and once again Phil Price stuns. Amazing detail and storyline that will have you hooked from the beginning. Tales of other worlds suck you in, leaving you wanting more. Ogres, witches, vampires.... I love following these characters and seeing where Phil is going to take me next. Riveting and powerful. Can't wait to read more from this extremely talented author.
Other books in this genre:
I quickly flagged down one of the casino workers—I swear to you that it seemed to be a requirement for employment at this hotel that the women all had to look like they’d just stepped off the photoshoot for the latest Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue—and the platinum blond pixie cut, would make any man quickly forget the throaty beauty in the café, whose name I didn’t bother to read smiled and pointed in the direction of the blackjack tables.
I hurried over, hoping to find Charlie, and grab onto the one lifeline I could count on to help drag me back from the edge and make some sense out of whatever the hell was going on. It wasn’t hard to find him at all once I got to the area; his booming laugh at some joke he’d just heard was a welcoming beacon to my ears.
When I got to his table, the first thing I noticed was a ridiculous number of chips piled up around his area of the table. Much like I had seen at the baccarat table earlier, it looked like everyone at the table was doing well but Charlie’s stack was approaching Mount Olympus in size. He was good at this game, I easily admit, but not that good. No one was.
The second thing I noticed was the enchanting young Carrie—still in her hotel uniform but her nametag was now gone—draped on Charlie’s right arm and looking like she was there to stay. That wasn’t the least bit ridiculous at all. He was good at that too, as I’ve mentioned before, and he really was that good in that arena.
“Hey, Pete,” he exclaimed when he saw me. “Pull up a chair and join us.”
“Not right now thanks,” I said. “Hey, I think they got our bags mixed up and one of mine is in your room. I was hoping you could let me in so I could get it.”
That seemed to me to be a perfectly reasonable explanation to get Charlie out of the casino where I could talk to him without any unwanted eavesdroppers. Unfortunately, my lifeline went and threw me the anchor and sank my plan in less than a heartbeat.
“No problem, buddy, here’s the key.” He flipped his room card in my direction with one of those Friday night goofy grins of his face that I knew all too well. “Just leave it in my room. I don’t think I’ll be needing it.”
Somehow, Carrie managed to snuggle even closer to Charlie than she had before. Even as I snagged the tumbling card out of the air, I tried to come up with some excuse, some pretense to get Charlie up and moving. But something in both of their expressions told me that it wouldn’t matter one bit what I said or did next. Charlie wasn’t moving from that chair anytime soon and when he did, he wasn’t doing it just to go off somewhere with me.
I’d lost my wingman, my lifeline and maybe my only hope of figuring out what had happened to us. Charlie turned back to the table, and his new girlfriend, without so much as another word in my direction and I stumbled away without any direction in mind other than to get away from the creature who’d once been my best friend.
Before I realized it, I found myself in an abandoned area of the casino, empty chairs stacked around a few unused card tables and standing face to face with Liz. How long she had been watching me, how much she had seen, I simply did not know. But there she stood with an odd, sad look in her eyes.
“Aren’t you going to ask me how you can be of service?” And I am sure there was more than a hint of bitterness in my voice, certainly more than she deserved to be on the receiving end of.
“No,” she replied without reproach for my tone. “At this moment, Mr. Childress, you are looking for any exit that will lead you back to the outside world. I simply can’t help you with that. All I can suggest to you is this—perhaps you are looking for the way out of here in the wrong direction.”
“What does that mean?” I asked in confusion.
Something from behind me suddenly caught her attention at that moment. Her eyes quickly flickered to whatever it was for a brief moment before returning to meet mine.
“Your room opens up to the central park,” she said after a moment’s pause. “We see so very few of our guests ever bother to go out and fully explore it. Perhaps you should visit it. You may find it to be peaceful and relaxing.”
She moved suddenly then, as if to walk past me without another word. But just as she drew even with me, her lips just inches from my right ear, I heard her whisper in a tone almost too soft for me to hear.
“You might even find it very enlightening, Mr. Childress.”
Then she was gone, moving on into the casino to engage some of the other guests in conversation. As I turned to watch her walk away, I noticed what it was that had distracted her earlier, what had appeared to make her suddenly cautious not only in what she said but how she appeared while saying it.
Standing out there in the middle of the casino, clearly scanning the crowd for someone in particular, was the hotel’s manager. But before he could look over in my direction and take notice of me, I darted toward a much darker area of the casino and eventually made my way back around to the entrance without him seeing me at all. For a reason that I could not put a logical explanation to, I suddenly had a very strong urge to be as far away from that man as I could possibly get myself and do it as quickly as I could.
Even within the seemingly limited, but very gilded, confines of this nightmarish trap that I found myself in.
I closed my eyes and focused on the fire in my hand, then sighed in relief when it went out. The trouble was, the heat inside me did not fade. It burned with the anger I could not release, with fury at what my people had endured at the hands of the Puppeteer.
I breathed in slow and deep to calm myself, to find some small measure of peace. This accomplished nothing. I simply stood there and tried to fight back some vicious beast with nothing but breath.
I was the beast. The chimera in my blood had come alive through the anger which could not be restrained. There was a monster in me as well.
“You just don’t understand. But you soon will Jake. I’ll not return here until everyone you know and love is long in the ground. My work was almost done. Now I must hope that I have done enough.” Jake noticed a faint blue outline appear behind Smeets as the wind kicked up around him.
The trees whistled and strained as a gust whipped up along the hillside. To Jake, it felt like his ears had just popped as he saw the blue glow strengthen into the shape of a doorway. The big man put his cases on the floor, bowing his head and removing his dark glasses. He spoke as he looked at the ground, the wind blowing his coat around his long legs.
“Do you know why you’re stood here, Jake? This very minute?”
Suddenly unsure of himself, Jake hesitated. “No, why?” he shouted over the roaring wind.
“Because I wanted you to be. You are my gift to a friend. Now I must leave you.” He looked up at Jake, his red eyes penetrating the night. Jake’s mouth fell open as he swayed on his feet.
Smeets took two steps back, turning his head to the blackness behind him. “Enjoy him, Anya, for he is fresh and very healthy.” He walked backwards until he vanished from sight, the blackness swallowing him whole.
Jake took a step forward, dumbfounded. His mind a whirling maelstrom. He stopped in his tracks when another figure emerged from the void. He stared in horror at the figure, dressed in a dirty grey gown that fell almost to her white bony ankles, dark mottled blotches covering her bare arms. Her yellow eyes are searching out and finding Jake, who felt like the earth was tilting at a strange angle.
She smiled at the sight of him, her dirty canines filling her blackened mouth as she moved closer. He tried to move backwards, tripping on a fallen log and crashing into the crook of a small tree. She sensed an advantage and moved to within ten feet of Jake, edging closer to him with shuffling feet. He wanted to turn and flee, back to his car, back to the safety of his house where he could bar the doors from all this. He then remembered his friend who lay dead on his lounge floor.
Not even his house would keep him safe from this. He was brought back to reality as two hands seized the lapels of his coat. He looked into the eyes of the woman as they bored into his. The yellow light seemed to dance like firefly’s, slowly taking away his fears. He welcomed the inevitable. He could almost see himself floating in a red river as her face filled his vision. He was at peace as her hands yanked apart the material of his clothing, exposing the flesh underneath.
Two things happened at that moment.
Firstly, his ears were filled with the deafening sound of her screams. Second, his eyes were blinded by a flash of light from below as he felt the hold on him released. The woman staggered backwards, her hands in front of her face, trying to fend off the piercing light that threatened to engulf her. Jake tried to rub his eyes and blink away the fuzzy shapes that floated in his vision as he suddenly felt a searing pain on his chest, followed by the smell of roasting flesh and burning hair.
He tried to grab at whatever it was that was causing the pain, his fingers touching the pendant that hung there. He pulled his hand away at the intense heat, flapping his fingers in the cold air. The bright light had dissipated enough for him to see that the woman had made it over to the glowing blue doorway between the two trees, one hand resting on the trunk as she tried to recover her resolve.
“Next time we meet, you’re mine,” she hissed before turning to trudge into the blackness.
You have just entered a new realm - a new Universe where there are worlds, races, powers, allies and enemies just waiting to be discovered. You have found yourself...
Beyond the Outer Rim
In the prelude to the series, we met Dungias as he became the Star Chaser – forever changing his world and receiving a quest to travel to a distant system and save the progeny of the Founders.
Venturing to the Rims, Dungias encounters new races, new cultures, and a self-styled adventurer by the name of JoJo Starblazer. A brilliant and daring pilot, this pirate seeks her freedom from the constraints of the Inner Rim Empire, the Middle Rim corporations, and the Outer Rim races of legend.
With only her skill, her savvy, and one dedicated First Mate, she seeks to find her niche in the Cosmos... even if she has to cut it out first!
If you could describe Uri’s home with a few words, it’d be sterile, bare and spartan. Almost militant. It reminded Del of the early days, back when he’d steal glass from the barracks and keeps of human kingdoms before the Glass Wars diminished their numbers and put the faen into power.
Nothing was out of place here. His clothes were organized into two sections: patrol Uri and magistrate Uri. Light armour and leather on the left and garish robes and ceremonial trinkets on the right. No Glass Crown.
A mouse would be hard-pressed to find a crumb of food in the kitchen. The floors were scrubbed, the table clean and polished, and the scent of citrus lingered in the air. No Glass Crown.
Upstairs was, as expected, equally tidy. Saria’s bedroom would seem chaotic compared to the order of Uri’s, and all she had was a bed and a book of poems. The sheets were pressed and fitted tight around a bed that’d hold no more than a single person. If Uri had anything going on with Renny, it sure as hell wasn’t going on here. Perhaps they rolled around on the floured floor of her bakery. An image both amusing and disturbing. No Glass Crown.
Del returned to the kitchen and grabbed a glass along with the bottle of wine beside it. He pulled the cork out with his teeth, spit it onto the floor and filled the glass, putting his feet up on the table. A small consolation for a fruitless search, but a deserved one nonetheless. He had after all saved Uri’s life.
After more than 200 years of being dead on the ocean floor, vampire Dominic Kollar is released in the year 2012, only to find out that the rules have changed. Bounty Slayers are responsible for keeping Vampires in line.
As Dom acclimates to the strange modern world, he discovers that he really likes two things: riding motorcycles and the sight of a mysterious, bewitching lady.
Aided by an old vampire frenemy, Dom confronts human bikers in order to infiltrate their gang and find the object of his blood lust. As long as he can keep himself fed in this new world of challenges, Dominic Kollar will make a stand, avenge his past and attempt to destroy those who dared to cross his path.
Charlotte brushed her shoulder-length, golden blonde hair away from her face, tucking it behind her ear while the sea breeze tried to blow it back. Her heart leapt at the sight of a ship out at sea as it rolled in the swell of the rising tide. Could it be a pirate ship? Why hadn’t she been more vigilant? If they came ashore there would be little chance of escape.
She spotted a smaller boat rowing towards her, heading straight for the beach. Her breath caught in her throat. What should I do? Is there enough time to save my little sister? Beth looked oblivious to the danger, chasing after a feather that blew away in the wind. By the time she reached her sister, they would be in clear view. Maybe I should save myself. At least one of us might survive. No. She couldn’t possibly leave Beth to the mercy of those murderous pirates.
Time ran out. It was now or never. The boat reached the shore, and its dubious occupants began to clamber out.
The loud cry made her jump. She snapped back to reality and spun around.
“Are you daydreaming again?” Her mum let out a frustrated sigh. She placed a gentle hand on her shoulder and steered her in the direction of the car park at the edge of the beach. “Can you help take some of this stuff back to the car, please?” She handed her an armful of bags stuffed with damp, sandy towels. “We’ve still got a lot of things to do before we go home tomorrow, and you haven’t even bought anything for your friends yet. If you get your skates on, you’ll have enough time to pop into the shops across the road.”
Charlotte wrinkled her nose at the thought of their holiday coming to an end, and cringed at the prospect of going back to school the following week. She scooped up her own towel and trudged through the sand, mumbling how unfair it was making her do all the work even though she was only ten. “I notice Beth’s not helping.”
Her dad grinned as she struggled to the car. “We’re going to grab some food. Take-away, nothing but the best for the last day,” he said as she reached him.
“Not McDonald’s again, Dad,” she remarked with a hint of sarcasm, dumping her load on the floor.
“No way! Fish and chips tonight.” He wore his silly grin that never failed to make her smile.
“Whatever!” She smirked. “Mum said I could have a quick look at the gift shops just across the road.”
He put the discarded bags into the car and slammed the boot. He slid his sunglasses up to his receding hairline, slipping his hand into his jeans pocket. “Do you need any money?”
“Nah, it’s okay. Mum gave me some yesterday.”
“Are you going to take Beth with you?”
She folded her arms and shifted her weight to one leg. “Do I have to?” She loved her six-year-old sister to bits, but she was the most annoying person in the whole world. “I’m not going to get much shopping done with Beth tagging along.”
His face brightened with a grin. “I’m only pulling your leg.” He nudged her playfully. “We’ll take Beth with us and meet you back here in ...” He paused to gaze at his watch. “Let’s say, in about fifteen minutes, okay? Don’t go far!”
She sighed with relief. “Okay. See ya later.” She left, fumbling through her pockets to check she still had her money.
Crossing the road, Charlotte admired the pretty seaside town lined with buildings all the way to the top of a hill, overlooking the sea. Interesting old houses displayed colourful shop fronts, and a local market filled any spaces in between. She ambled along the well-worn paving stones, not really paying attention to the task of buying gifts for her friends. With her hands in her pockets, she wandered past stalls that spilled out across the path, packed with beach balls and buckets and spades.
She paused for a moment outside an arcade, drawn by the sounds and flashing lights that filled the air around the neon-lit building. Fighting the urge to spend the last of her money on a teddy-grabbing machine, she continued to trudge up the hill, losing interest in her mission with every step.
Halfway along the road she stopped, stepping into an alley to shelter from the glare of the sun. She leaned her back against the bright-red tiles that decorated the archway. Each one contained a small figure. They reminded her of characters from a fairy tale. She turned to examine them closely, running her fingers over the textured surface. Something about them held a strange attraction.
She gazed into the alley. It led a fair way back, but in the gloom she could see the front of a grubby-looking shop with a large ‘Sale’ sign in the window. She strained her eyes for a better view, and wondered if she should have a look just in case she could pick up something unusual for Mum. After a moment’s thought, she decided she had nothing to lose and wandered a little closer, checking over her shoulder as she went.
Reaching the glazed shop front, Charlotte stood on tiptoes to see over the half-frosted glass that obscured her view of the inside. Despite being taller than most kids her age, the contents of the store remained a mystery. She paused at the door before giving it a shove and peering through the gap. Inside, it looked much smaller than expected, with tall shelves standing against the outer walls, each laden with an assortment of objects that appeared better placed in a junk shop.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end, but curiosity urged her forward. She stepped inside. An old-fashioned till perched in the centre of a small counter at the far end of the shop. Behind it hung a set of drab curtains with tiny pinholes, allowing slivers of light to seep through. The whole place had an air of gloom and smelt musty and damp.
“Hello. Are you open?” Charlotte called out.
When no one responded, she browsed the shelves, discovering some odd, hand-carved figures, similar to the characters on the decorated tiles around the archway outside. She picked up one that resembled a garden gnome and turned the carving around, searching for a price label. Nothing. That’s not much help. She placed the grotesque figure back down.
A bright flash caught her eye when she turned to leave. She stared at a small bookcase resting against the back wall beside the counter. A gentle glow of green light illuminated the shelves, tempting her to venture further and take a closer look. She crept through the aisle and bent down to examine a small, glass snow dome nestled amongst a variety of clay pots. It looked out of place with the other articles displayed in the shop.
She reached out and touched the surface with the tips of her fingers. The cool surface tingled, a strange yet alluring sensation. With a quick check over her shoulder, she picked it up and tipped it upside down. She cupped the delicate item in the palm of her hand and held it close to her face. No snow.
Inside the crystal orb, a tiny globe like a miniature planet revolved in slow motion, casting eerie shadows against the dreary walls. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered.
“Yes, it is beautiful,” a gruff voice sounded.
She spun around and stumbled back a step. Behind the counter stood a large figure wrapped in a gray cloak, similar to the drab curtains that hung behind him. From what she could see of him in the gloom, his scruffy, charcoal hair hung down to his shoulders. Dark eyes peered out below bushy eyebrows, making his thin face look gaunt and pasty. She shuddered. He gave her the creeps, popping up from out of nowhere and staring at her as though he had never seen a customer before.
“I am sorry if I surprised you. I did not mean to make you feel uncomfortable,” he said, as if reading her mind. “You are very welcome here.”
She put down the small ornament and walked along scanning the contents of the shelves, picking through the strange collection of knickknacks. The entire time, she sensed the old man’s stare following her. She considered leaving, yet the eerie glow from the snow dome kept drawing her gaze back to the bookcase. The temptation from its hypnotic light got the better of her, and she walked back to pick it up again. “How much is this?”
A broad smile lit up the man’s face. “Take it, child. I have no use for it in my shop.”
Her eyes widened. “What, for nothing? I must give you something for it. I’ve got money, you know.”
The old man shrugged. “Well, if you are that keen on striking a deal with me.” He raised one of his bushy eyebrows. “All I will ask is for you to take great care of such a beautiful item. Promise me you will be good and always tell the truth.”
“I always tell the truth anyway. I hate liars!” she declared, a little puzzled by such a strange request. “Is that it? Is that all you want?”
He bellowed with laughter.
She placed one hand on her hip. “What’s so funny, then?”
“I am sorry.” He leaned closer across the counter. His weather-beaten face creased with concern. “Telling the truth is not always an easy thing to do, especially when you find yourself in trouble.” His expression lightened. “I am Goffer, the shop keeper, and if I am not mistaken, you will find yourself in trouble if you do not hurry. Time is getting on.”
Charlotte glanced at her watch. “You’re right!” She rushed to the door in a fluster, but stopped before leaving. “Thank you! Thanks a lot. That was really nice of you.”
Goffer stood motionless, barely visible in the shadows. “I would not be so quick to thank me just yet.”
A pendant with a secret...
A four-thousand-year-old curse, cast in the land of gods, threatens Apollo’s twins...
In a treacherous journey to break the curse of a pendant connected to his twins, Apollo travels to a land where vampires and werewolves were born—a land where good and evil, light and dark, collide. With time against him, he seeks to understand and alter his children’s destiny while he confronts his foes who possess supernatural powers he never knew existed. Now, Apollo must confront his past, face his present and make decisions that could alter his future. Will he save his children, or lose them to the curse forever?
Chat with Authors
I have always loved reading; even as a small child I would always be found with my nose in a book. There is such pleasure...
I started writing down the stories I imagined while trying to fall asleep each night. You see, I developed insomnia due to my stressful work...
I started The Ugly while at law school, and my initial goal was to critique the idea of law. I was publishing law review articles...
Coming to a fork in the road is what inspired me. At that time I basically became a walking dead man. Prison had hardened me....
Life. I am an albino, legally blind because of it. I grew up believing I was nothing. So I wrote to make myself feel like...
Hop on Lenka's List Bandwagon
La sirena negra by Emilia Pardo Bazán Narrator: Esperanza de la Encarnación Published by Edelae Genres: Fiction , Historical Length: 4 horas 42 minutos Format:
La Jolla, California is widely known for the "Seven Caves" and most visitors go inside the caves through kayaking tours, but there's also another way