Tag Archives: Fantasy

Deadly Reign Excerpt

Parallel Dimension I

Fatal Confrontation

 

“State your purpose,” Orac demanded.

“I believe my purpose is known to all present,” Cahotic replied.

Caleb, Ben and Eve joined Pete and Orac.

“Mount up,” Caleb said, “and do not remove your eyes from them.”

Pete complied and climbed onto his horse.

“Prepare your weapons,” Caleb ordered.

“I need no other than these,” Orac stated, holding up his fists.

“Now, Caleb,” Cahotic chastised, “is that a proper welcome for old friends?”

“Orac,” Caleb said, motioning to the giant.

Orac backed up to meet Caleb. “Yes?” he said.

Caleb leaned over and whispered into Orac’s ear.

Orac smiled and then nodded, returning to his previous spot.

“Make ready,” Cahotic said, “and separate the necessary parts. We must renew our supply of gel.”

The riders pulled their swords and moved forward. The line was staggered in a stepped orientation, allowing each rider to shield the one behind. As the first aberration moved onto the snow-covered ice, an inaudible cracking ensued. Caleb sensed the ice give under the great weight, as the second rider followed his predecessor.

“Now, Orac,” Caleb ordered.

Orac bent over, slamming his mammoth fists into the ice. Cracks developed in the crust, spreading from the epicenter in spider-like fashion. Orac continued his barrage, crawling further onto the ice as he decimated the concrete water. He felt two points of pressure along his back. A small figure wrapped in fur vaulted from his flank and onto the rear of the first rider’s beast. He wielded a spear with a fine bronze tip attached to a smooth brown shaft. The newcomer plunged the spear with no ill effects, hitting pieces of armor and plated green scales. The first rider and his steed dipped to the left and then to the right. An ear-splitting crack echoed through the forest, and the rider sank. As the creatures continued their descent, the small figure jumped from the rider. With uncanny agility, the strange fur-covered form bounced along small chunks of ice, floating in the stream until he reached the bank. Astonishment enveloped The Three, uttering not a sound as they watched this acrobat.

The second rider attempted to turn and make it back to solid ground, reaching the bank as the ice collapsed beneath him. The animal sank to its midsection before it could gain a hold with its forelimbs, the aberration it bore slid off its back. Steam drifted upward from the pair as the water permeated their bodies.

“Orac!” Caleb yelled. “Enough.”

Orac ceased his assault and circled around to return to his comrades.

Caleb turned to Ben. “Gather wood for a fire,” he said.

“What about the . . . ?” Ben asked.

“Wood,” Caleb barked, “and quickly.”

Ben, Pete and Eve dropped from their horses as the ice gave way, plunging Orac into the frozen slush.

The first rider was now chest deep in the center of the stream. Huge bubbles from underneath exploded as the beast that bore him disintegrated. The rider himself silently melted into the stream, his head exploding in small puffs as if boiling in a cauldron.

The second rider’s mount, using its front claws, inched itself onto the bank. Its rider plunged his sword deep into the beast, allowing it to pull him along. The pair breached the water’s surface, both formless from the midsection down, their remaining torsos dissolving in a mass of tiny gurgling eruptions.

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No Unicorns, No Unicorns; My Kingdom for an Extreme Lack of Unicorns

The topic of my blog post this week is something I swore I would never do, if for no other reason than I loathe the subject matter. My favorite genres when I write are science fiction, fantasy, and action adventure. When it comes to fantasy I avoid kings, queens, knights, castles, dragons, damsels in distress and unicorns with extreme prejudice!

Well, it looks like the old saying rings true once again, never say never. And I mean never ever say never because you can bet it will return to chomp unmercifully upon your major gluteus muscles, as just happened to me. I made the mistake of asking a female (my newly acquired daughter) her opinion on the theme of my next blog. “Unicorns,” she said. So here is my offering, even though it manifested into a negative presentation. I’m forming a fact-finding blue ribbon commission to study the feasibility  of changing the unicorn name to “Unihorn.” Of course, we could always replace the horn with an ear of corn and keep the name as is. Think about it and just imagine –  we’d finally have something (though a bit ridiculous)  that actually makes sense.

If you’re wondering about “my newly acquired daughter”, that’s fodder for another blog, but the story is quite a sweet one.

Until next week, Happy Trails!

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Excerpt From DEADLY REIGN

Rustling, and then uneven stomps, could be heard inside moving closer. All became silent before something slammed into the door.

Orac and Eve both jerked back at the sudden noise. Even Pete, behind them on the sleigh, raised his head before lowering it again.

The door opened, stopping just wide enough for a grizzled old woman to step into the opening. She wore brown unlaced work boots, scuffed and cracked with age. Scrawny unshaven legs rose out of the boots into a faded plaid mid-length skirt, tied at the waist with a length of rope. “What in the name of Jeezy Pete is you two a doin’ out here?”

Eve opened her mouth to speak and was immediately cut short.

“Keep it to yerself,” the old women squawked. “Don’t make no never mind to me anyhow.”

A moth-eaten sweater covered a gingham blouse that clung to her from months of not bathing. Bony fingers held a long-stem pipe. Three brown teeth could be counted as she drew heavily on whatever substance burned in the pipe’s bowl. “I never thunked I’d a seen it, but sure nuff I guess it’s here.” Her leathery face seemed to pull her features deep into her skull. Black eyes glared from their sockets and a floppy weather-worn cotton hat sat atop her head. She looked around Eve and noticed Pete huddled on the sleigh. “Dadburn it all to pieces,” she said, grinding her pipe between her gums. She turned around and pushed her fist through a wooden wall behind her. Splinters and dust flew in all directions. “I done and fetched up the wrong count again. They’s three of ‘um and one of ‘um is a illn’ and sittn’ out in the snow. Lookie here ya old buzzard, have ya ever seen such a sight?”

The door opened, revealing an old man, more than a foot taller than his female counterpart. He was barefoot, errant nails twisting several inches from his toes, his hairless legs disappearing at the lower calf into a tattered night shirt. He held a funnel, similar to a miniature gramophone, to his ear. A scraggly gray beard cascaded halfway down his chest.

“Look,” Eve said, nudging Orac, “there’s something moving in his beard.”

Orac focused on the beard and soon could see small brown vermin darting in and out of the hairy foliage. His face was old and drawn with a long pointed nose, no discernible teeth, and a pipe jutting from his near lipless mouth.

“What in tarnation you goin’ on about, ya old bat?” he yowled. She elbowed him in the ribs.

“I know yer deef,” she replied, “but ‘er ya blind, too, ya ol’ coot?”

He grabbed his side and began to cough up huge balls of phlegm, depositing them on the threshold of the door. Ignoring the old man’s distress, she addressed the two and Orac.

“Taint a fit night out fer man nary a demon,” she said. “You three git yerself up and in here now! They’s things out here you wouldn’t wanna run into in the daylight, much less on a nite like this here nite.”

Orac scooped up Pete and followed the old woman into the house. They had to step around the old man, still hacking in the doorway. They made their way down a long, dimly lit hall. The scampering and scratching of small unseen beings were evident from the sounds behind the walls.

Eve tensed. I wonder which side of the wall they’re on? She imagined long scaled insects with fangs dripping with venom and mangy rats two feet long jumping onto her shoulders while the bugs invaded her hair.

The trip through the hallway seemed to take forever. Eve entered into a large living area, avoiding the onset of hyperventilation that was overtaking her. She wiped the beads of sweat from her forehead.

“How is Pete doing?” Eve asked Orac.

“With his injuries, it will be a long journey; however, I have no doubt his recovery will be complete.”

Two beds lined one wall and a small dinette with five chairs sat in front of a stone fireplace with a flat rock top. A wooden cabinet, pushed tight to the side of the fireplace, with three shelves and no doors, became a makeshift cupboard. Cut into the stone directly beside the firebox itself was a rectangular-shaped hole which served as an oven. An unidentifiable hunk of meat crackled over the open flame and the enticing smell washed over them.

“We gettin’ ready to sup,” the old woman said.  “If ya wanna mouthful, then take a seat, if ya don’t, then suit yerself.” She yelled back up the hallway, “Er ya comin’, ya lazy sack a’ nuthin? Fixins is gettin’ cold and I aint apt to warm ‘em back up fer ya.”

A garbled “Aye” filtered up the hallway. The old woman walked up to Orac and tapped him in the chest with her pipe. “You can make a pallet for that there sickun on the floor in the corner at the foot a’ that first bed. You be a’findin’ blankets on the shelf just above that very same corner.”

She turned to baste the meat on the fire.

Turning back around, she squinted her eyes and pointed a bony finger in Orac’s direction. “Mind you, you don’t put him on my bed. I don’t take kindly to strangers lyin’ where I lie.”

As the old woman tended to the meal, Eve took a moment to survey her surroundings. The floor and walls were made of the same faded wooden planks. Beneath the ancient thatched roof, rafters branched out like an oak rib cage. A multitude of diverse insects could be seen scampering in and out of the thatch. They occasionally rained down on the floor and made a mad dash for the nearest crack or corner in which to disappear.

On top of the sizzling flat stone of the fireplace, the old woman ladled an unknown gruel from a large pot into two smaller bowls.

The old man sauntered into the room, still coughing, having recovered from his partner’s jab in the ribs.

“Best get to cuttin else we’ll be here all night,” the old woman said.

He began to strop a large butcher knife against a piece of leather hanging from the wall. “I’m a thinkin you might a busted a couple ribs with that elbow a yern,” he complained.

“If’n I did, you deserve every one of um.”

He cut several large chunks of the roasted meat, placed them on a wooden serving platter, and joined the old woman at the table.

After several mouthfuls, the old woman wiped her chin with her sleeve and glared at Eve, Pete and Orac.

“I ain’t ‘yo momma and I ‘don teld ya once that if ya wanna eat, then eat.” She swallowed another mouthful. “An best be quick about it, cuz once I clean up this here mess, ain’t nobody eatin’ till ‘morrow mornin’.” She motioned with her fork towards the fireplace, “Now git to it!”

Eve and Orac locked eyes, uncertain what to do next. Their lull soon brought an answer.

“I ain’t gon tell you nary nuther time,” the old woman screamed. She stood, and grabbing one of the empty plates, slung it at the two surprised visitors. Orac caught the plate before it could smash against the wall.

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Excerpt from TERMINAL CORE

Clay’s expression changed to one of surprise and pain. He raised his hand. In the center of his palm was a quarter inch hole. A drill bit could not have made a cleaner cut. The culprit, a slashworm, had exited on the backside of Clay’s hand and wasted no time working its way up his arm.

“Ah,” Clay groaned, “there’s more than one.” He pulled his right pant leg up in time to see a parasite exit his calf muscle.

“What are they?” Jake screamed. A worm entered his shoulder just above the clavicle connection. Both men writhed on the ground in pain. The soil seemed to move as thousands of the slashworms vied for a free meal.

Before long, Clay and Jake would be consumed alive.

A lightening-like patterned grid of positively charged ions danced a few inches above the ground. It covered a region a quarter square mile, turning the area into a stunning pyrotechnic show.

In the middle of this square, lay two human figures. Both were in fetal positions, swatting at their necks and faces. The constant hum emanating from the charged grid came to an end along with the light display.

A comical scene played out as the men continued to slap themselves. Then, realizing the slashworms had ceased their attack, they stopped their flailing and sat up.

A short, slender man, barefoot and dressed in overalls walked up on Clay and Jake.

“Well, now,” he said, through a scraggly mustache and beard, “‘pears like you two went and sat down amongst some mighty nasty critters.”

“Yeah, I guess it would appear that way,” Clay said. He brushed dirt and debris from his clothes and examined himself for slashworm damage. Strangely enough, there was no pain associated with his wounds.

“I’m-a guessin’ you two is fair the well stupid to be sittin’ down in a slashworm nest.” He pushed a strange looking pistol into a wide holster hanging from his side. The pistol was attached to a double cylinder backpack, by way of a flexible metal hose. At the top of each cylindrical tank set a cone that ended in a dull point. An electrical charge danced between the tips of the two cones.

“Reckon it’s a good thing I were out and about.”He stuck his finger in his right ear and dug around, pulling out a large brown lump and wiping it on his overalls.

“Yes, sir, dang good thing fer real I jest happened along.”

“You . . . you killed those filthy bloodsuckers?” Jake exclaimed.

“Oh no,” the little old man said, “I didn’t kill’ em, I jest ran’ em back in the ground fer a spell.”

Clay and Jake stood, continuing to brush themselves off.

The small man extended his hand.

“Names Taggert Lee.” He shook Clay’s and Jake’s hands. “My friends call me Gert. Being you two fellers ain’t what I’d exactly term as mean, I reckon it’ll be fittin fer you to call me jest that.”

Both men acknowledged Gert’s gesture of friendship, and in the spirit of camaraderie offered their first names to be used by Gert.

“Now, I ain’t sure if you two knows it or not, but them there nasty little buggers that was a gnawin on ya is hardheaded little fellers. They ain’t ones to back down from an easy meal.”

Clay along with Jake looked at Gert and then at each other, not understanding what the little man was trying to say.

Gert shook his head. “Some peoples can be so dense that it jest ain’t proper. Looky here, you two.” He hocked up a big ball of phlegm and spat it on the ground, in front of Clay’s boot. A single slashworm pushed through the soil and sucked the phlegm ball down.

Clay and Jake were mesmerized watching the parasite, push through the Earth, devour the organic Jell-O and disappear.

“Is you two stupid or is ya tryin to get et up?”

The two men broke from their reverie and jumped. They landed beside Gert as the ground boiled with thousands of slashworms in search of the meal they had tasted moments earlier.

“I guess stupid would fit best,” Clay said.

“No argument there,” Jake echoed.

The sky had been growing light for some time now. The uniqueness of this hemisphere included dual suns that never fully set. So there was always light even if just a small amount.

“You two dummies gets not a argment from me neither.”

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An Excerpt From TERMINAL CORE

SAL RICKY HAD CLEARED the saloon wall by ten feet when Clay’s gun fired. The dual rounds flew true, making contact in the middle of his back. A bright light and a sonic boom of sorts ensued, splitting the creature in half. The two portions continued to run, slowing to a wobble and falling over sideways. No blood or fluid escaped the bifurcating wound as the molten copper rendered the cauterization complete.

Clay shook his head and picked himself up off the floor. A flood of pain shot from his right hand, up his arm, spidered through his shoulder and into his brain.

“Remind me not to do that again,” he said to himself, as he gingerly shook his hand hoping to relieve the widespread burning.

He made his way through the hole in the saloon wall (compliments of one decimated hydrak), and upon reaching the deceased creature, he nudged it with his boot.

“Now I’ve got to move two large pieces that are nothing but dead weight as opposed to one larger being that could move itself.” He removed his hat, lowered his head and shook it several times. After replacing his hat, he looked at the two dead halves.

“Why do they always have to choose the hard way?”

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Read, View, Old, New, Nobody Flies for Free.

4872912-9226306576-47674Are you into movies? If so, I’ll assume your favorite gems on the big screen bridge over into your preferred genre in the novels you read. With all the assorted subjects flying out of Hollywood and bookstores, you pretty much have your pick on what you read or view these days. As usual, the stories we enjoy begin with words and over time make their way onto the silver screen.

For some time now, the comic books we all read as kids are gaining popularity, not just in print, (today referred to as graphic novels) but in movie form, also. Marvel seems to have cornered the market with DC a ways behind. I personally don’t have a favorite, but enjoy them all. With the computer generated special effects of today, things can be brought to life through a process called, “Go Motion,” first used in Jurassic Park in 1993. For the first time, characters only in our imagination could be brought to life in a realistic manner. Gone were the days of stop motion animation and the jerky figures it produced.

I enjoy the comic book heroes brought to the big screen format as well as on my flat screen at home. Being a science fiction and fantasy writer, it brings a new dimension to the characters I create for my novels. And who knows?…Maybe one day I’ll see a novel I’ve penned on the silver screen. I just hope it’s not filmed as the old Godzilla movies were with men jumping around in suits. Who knows? Maybe claymation will make a comeback, and then I’ll have it made.

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“Deadly Reign,” 3rd Book in the “Rising Tide Series”

deadly-reign-cover Available Spring  2017   Pre-order:   http://christophermatthewspub.com/soul-fire-press/

Ben, Eve and Pete continue to push through this new Earth as the world sinks deeper into corruption. They gain new allies, including an intellectual animal equipped with the gift of speech. They are forced to battle six aberrations (beasts and riders) deemed nearly indestructible. The environment has manifested into a frigid terrain with the sun lost in the ice filled cloud cover. Swords forged especially for the riders by the riders offer another layer of defense to an already superior force. The humans have deduced that water may possibly be a weapon, but a weapon that even now is freezing at an accelerated rate.

 

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