Shane jolted from his chair, stumbled over his own feet and fell to the floor. He must have fallen asleep, but he didn’t remember doing so. He was shivering and a layer of perspiration coated his body. Though feeling shocked and unsteady, he scrambled up and glanced at his watch. Two hour had passed. Unexplainable fear gripped him. He spun around, looking for something, but what was it that he was trying to find? Whatever it was that he felt so compelled to locate was not real. He’d been only dreaming.
He tried to remember details now that he was awake, but what had seemed so vivid while he slept now appeared hazy. One word flashed from his memory: Murder. Much of him did not want to remember, but curiosity overrode his apprehension. Trying to recall was challenging, as if the dream was made from old faded photographs. Shane tried harder to filter tidbits of latent info into his mind and slowly he gained specks and pieces. It had not been a clean killing. He remembered the smell of all that blood. Through his mind’s eye, he could still see it covering the carpet of Pile Hall’s lobby. There was no blood now, but the haunting memory of it remained, choking him. He bent over with his hands on his knees, trying to breathe, but feeling strangled.
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When Dragon woke, he felt weak and puny, diminished in body and strength. He struggled to his feet and stared down at the naked human form he inhabited. The cozy cavern that had been his home looked immense and his body felt tiny.
He remembered the witch’s curse and groaned in abject misery. “What has the blasted witch done to me?” he shouted. The sound of his human voice echoed through the cavern, sounding like a person jeering at him. “I speak with a human voice?” He grasped his neck with spindly fingers and turned to search the cavern with weak human eyes. “Where is that blasted witch, Bellatrix?” He found her body slumped onto the floor. Bellatrix lay in a pool of blood, clutching the golden knife she’d plunged into her own heart.
With human hands, Dragon extracted the knife from the witch’s corpse. The weapon sparkled with jewels that most dragons would covet, but the metal felt hot and vibrated with supernatural power. Fear shot through his chest. Dragon quickly sheathed the bloody knife in a scabbard that lay next to the witch’s body.
“What am I to do?” he asked, pacing the length of the cavern, vacillating between anger and sorrow. He stopped and considered everything the witch had told him about her vile curse. Feeling resigned to the situation, he said, “I must find that young sorceress and get her to remove this dreadful curse.”
A cold breeze licked his naked skin, raising goose bumps across the frail flesh. He shivered and raised the puny arm to look at the appendage. “I’d better cover this pathetic body with human clothing.”
Dragon remembered the body of a human knight, one who recently tried to kill him, lying in a nearby cavern. That human wore clothing that might suffice for my purpose. He trudged through tunnels littered with bones, crying in pain as his bare feet stepped on the sharp objects. He limped forward until he found the knight’s body next to a pool of crystal clear water.
Dragon stared down at the body of the knight. He was a large man by human standards with dark hair and runes drawn down one side of his face. Humans often tried to use magical runes to protect themselves when they confronted a fierce dragon. It never worked. He touched the human face he now wore and wondered what it looked like. Turning to the still pool of water, he gazed into a familiar-looking face. Strange. Dragon pushed human fingers through the unruly mop of hair and peered down at the dead knight lying at his feet.
He gasped, “I look just like this knight. Did the witch copy the form of this human when she changed me into a knight?”
Ten years ago, Argus Gunther escaped Hawkhurst, thinking he had left behind a desolate life and a forsaken name. Though, when he is lured back to complete a contract, Argus discovers he can't bury the past so easily. Pulled instantly into Hawkhurst's daunting political games, Argus is forced to navigate through his nightmares. Now, while in search for his freedom, he must decide whether or not there are worse fates than death. The Hawkhurst Saga is the accumulation of the three stories: A Midwinter Sellsword, Gladiators and Thieves, and Ashes to Ashes.
Freeda sat in the chair across from me and leaned back, her eyes probing mine. “I had a dream about you last night. You were running through the mountains in your wolf form, but you were being chased. I woke up before I could see if you were caught.”
I choked on a drink of coffee. “M-my wolf form?” I asked while coughing to dislodge the liquid from my windpipe.
“You already know it’s possible. The glow of your magic has changed.”
When Cassie bursts through the stratosphere in her incubation pod, she cannot make sense of why she is descending from space in the man-made vessel. Soon, she is trapped on the newfangled, apocalyptic Earth, fleeing from a bizarre alien race. Now, in a desperate search for answers and allies, Cassie turns to the remnants of past human cultures, who have become the monsters of legends.
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.
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.
Auren learns she is destined to enslave the people of her world, and Drevin, emperor of the Galvadi Empire is determined to end her life before it happens. Her foster father, Kado, has sworn to protect her and trains her as a shadow stalker. But her training is cut short, when their people are overrun by the Galvadi Empire. Now she has to find a way to help her people without succumbing to the prophecy.
The Hidden Truth (Episode 1)
A young shadow stalker is destined to enslave the people of the Serpent Isles, and the Galvadi Empire want this child of prophecy dead. Auren Trasks perfectly normal life is disrupted when the Galvadi invade, and she learns a startling secret about her past. A secret that will change her life forever.
The Delohi-Saqu’s Fate (Episode 2)
Auren is being targeted by the Council of Elders, and the only one who could put an end to their corruption is her father. But leaving the Dark Isle would turn Kado against her.
Shadows’ Betrayal (Episode 3)
After seeing the monster she will become, Auren swears not to leave the Dark Isle. Despite that, the elders are conspiring against her. To escape their scheming, she and Kado decide to explore the Dark Isle. But worse things await them in the forests.
Forbidden Love (Episode 4)
Kado and Auren survive a deadly storm, but when Auren is forbidden from pursuing love with another young shadow stalker, will it be enough to drive a wedge between her and her foster father?
Destiny Reconciled Part 1 (Episode 5)
Auren and Kado accept that they may not be able to avoid her leaving the Dark Isle. Now they have to prepare for that eventuality. Will the training be more than Auren can handle?
Destiny Reconciled Part 2 (Episode 6)
Cathnor has been arrested and is facing a death sentence. The Dark Isle is out of control, and Kado is the only one who can help his people. So he prepares Auren for the possibility that she may have to leave the Dark Isle without him and face her destiny alone, but can she leave him and do what must be done?
“Layna, you need to calm down. Do that breathing thing again.”
I blinked, startled to find the chair tipped over, the computer screen shattered . . . my hands bloody. I hadn’t even noticed, hadn’t felt it.
I sank to my knees, no longer caring about anything. Let Miles see me crumble. Let him have ammo to use against me. Nothing mattered.
“Layna,” he said quietly, his voice more soothing than anything I had ever heard.
My eyes flicked in his direction, surprised to see him crouched there, his hand extended through the bars of his cell. Without a clear thought, I reached out and laid my hand in his. I had never needed anything as much as that small contact.
He didn’t speak. He just crouched there with my hand in his, his eyes understanding.
Kenneth Platt drove his old 1995 pale-blue Ford pickup down the lonely stretch of highway 35 that connected Norfolk and Wayne Nebraska. He was going from the south, towards the north. His destination was Wayne. He drove with that lazy sort of confidence, the kind that comes from doing a mundane task over and over so many times that it could be done without even thinking. This was the way it was with the trip between Wayne and Norfolk; a task that he
had done so many times that he could do it with his eyes closed.
With the cruise control engaged, he hummed quietly to himself as he drove along. His fingers tapped upon the steering wheel as if his hands were a practiced team of sequin-studded Rockets doing their Vegas act for his sole entertainment. Likewise, his right foot, being denied the responsibility of depressing the accelerator, tapped up and down in rhythm to the tune. He drove through the darkness of night, humming and tapping, along that highway that resembled a giant serpent lying in the prairie grass, he watched the road magically appear in front of him. It seemed to grow out of the darkness as his headlights brought it into view.
He glanced in his rearview mirror. Behind him, he watched as the road disappeared just as quickly as it had appeared in front of him. It was as if the furnace-red glow of his taillights incinerated this giant prairie serpent into nothing but ash and blackened bones. He was alone on that road, but this was nothing unusual for that stretch of highway at that time of the evening on that day of the week.
This was a route without glamour and one that Kenneth had taken so many times before that he often arrived at his destination without remembering anything about the trip. In fact, he had been known to joke that a race of aliens routinely abducted him while he was traveling along this stretch of lonely rural highway. On Saturdays, Sundays, and Tuesdays, Kenneth made the trip from Wayne to Norfolk and back again. He lived in Wayne, attending the state-college there, but the town of Wayne was small and lacked job opportunity. So, on the weekends, he worked as a stock boy at a small discount store in Norfolk.
Compared to Wayne, Norfolk was a virtual metropolis, boasting a population of more than 20,000 souls. So, the potential for employment was equally boastful. This is why Kenneth did his lonely commute, at least as far as the Saturdays and Sundays were concerned. On Tuesdays however, he came to Norfolk for an altogether different reason. On that day, he came for lessons, guitar lessons to be precise. One would think that after taking on a full-time college credit load, and taking on a part-time job, extra lessons would be only an unwanted burden but such was not the case for Kenneth.
Like many his age, he had grandiose dreams of being something more than just another guy with a degree, destined for the stagnant grind of corporate life. No, Kenneth had bigger aspirations than that and it involved stardom. Wearing ties, butt kissing management, and working in a cube just wasn’t his thing. For him, this was plan “B”. Nobody knew that this was plan “B” except himself. He always felt that his parents would likely have simultaneous heart attacks if they found out that he was not interested in being the college grad, medium management schmuck that so many others seemed so keen to. No, he had a plan “A” and that plan was to rock!
He wanted to be a rock star and often dreamed of all the fame and glory that came with that lifestyle. Of course, he was not yet good enough for stardom. This was something he regretfully realized. Someday, he would be good enough. Currently, he could play a few Ramones songs, which meant that he knew exactly three chords. This was not sufficient to be the next American idol, but it was a start in the right direction. Everybody after all, had to start somewhere. Even B.B. King had that moment when he first picked up a guitar and strummed the strings and immediately fell in love with the instrument and the potential that could be unleashed from it.
As he rode the snake-like highway, he glanced affectionately at his passenger, the current love of his life. It was not a woman. With all of his activities, he had not found much time to meet women. In the passenger seat sat his guitar, a Gibson Les Paul. He didn’t love it quite the way he would have loved a woman, yet he had been intimate with it, telling it his deepest secrets and desires through lyrics that he wrote. They were only apart when he was in class or asleep. Actually, they were consistently apart only in class, and then only because the professors would not allow the instrument to take up a seat. He had actually been known, on occasion to sleep with it. He did not do this for sexual reasons. He did not do it out of obsession. It was mostly just to creep out his roommate
who objected that his hobby had sped past healthy levels long ago.
As far as his hobby being an obsession, what did his roommate know anyway? He would think on this and smirk. His roommate was a business major, destined for nothing more than days filled with cubicle life, gossip by the water fountain, and annual reviews for miniscule wage increases. That life was not for Kenneth.
The guitar’s polished white finish glistened from the pickup’s greenish dash-light as if it were winking at Kenneth, flirting with him. The flirting worked. Kenneth wished he were home right now, playing those silvery strings and pouring his heart out in song. But first, he had to get home. He didn’t have a case for his love, not even a cheap gig-bag.He did have a roll of black plastic trash bags under the truck’s passenger seat so he could avoid getting the instrument wet if it rained.
It wasn’t that he thought the guitar didn’t deserve a case; he loved it more than that. He simply couldn’t afford one on his college student, discount store stock boy paychecks. He had worked more than full-time at two jobs all summer and had saved every cent he could to get that instrument. After he purchased it and a small Peavey Rage 108 amplifier, which he had to get second hand from a cigarette smoking pawn shop owner that seemed to sweat far too much to be healthy, he just had nothing left for a case.
His humming grew into words and he began to serenade his love with touching lines from his Ramones library. It was a Ramones-medley, a little of Teenage Lobotomy, a bit from I wanna be Sedated, a line from We’re a Happy Family. Then he stopped mid-song, an action that would have probably put off
his love if she had been anything more than pieces of fine wood, bits of precisely formed metal and high-gloss enamel. He stared with eyes wide open out his front windshield and unconsciously slowed the car to about fifty miles per hour.
Ahead of him, a bolt of lightning had torn the night sky into fragments separated by white-blue rips. This didn’t make any sense to Kenneth. First, mere seconds ago, he had been singing and he had been driving under a starry sky. There had not been a cloud to be found from horizon to horizon. Second, although lightning is not unheard of in Nebraska during late September, it is not at all common. He never heard a clap of thunder. Then again, maybe his ears never had the chance to relay that sound to his brain.
Mere milliseconds after this odd phenomenon occurred, something slammed into the pickup’s front windshield so hard that it transformed it into a useless piece of junk.The thing was something like a snake without eyes and apparently with a head of steel. Kenneth only got the slightest of glimpses of this---this, whatever it was. He had just enough time to take his foot off the accelerator. He did not have time to brake.
As easily as the thing had penetrated the windshield, it plowed itself into Kenneth’s skull. It went through his left eye-socket, which was comparatively less solid than automotive glass. It sliced through that tissue like a knife through warm butter. It entered his brain.
That used to be Genie’s mantra. Little did she know that the wave would literally take her out of this world. Now, faced with a new life, unbelievable dimensions and unexpected dangers, she’s got to pull off the ride of her life, or wipe out.
The prelude to the EdgeWorld series serves as an introduction both to the new world Genie finds and the plight that has found her.
An American teenager living in Bolivia with her father and younger brother, Genie was trying her best to take care of her family in the wake of her mother’s death. But that was before she crashed headfirst into the curious stranger and her whole world turned upside down. Now new possibilities, good and bad, await her at every turn, but she cannot allow concerns of the outcome affect how she rides – surf’s up!
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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