Friday, May 31, 2013

Doctor Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Bervin ‘The Blue,’ excerpt

Yesterday we met author Chris Sweigard. Today read an excerpt from his middle grade novel, Doctor Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Bervin ‘The Blue.’  If you like the excerpt, be sure to comment and buy the novel.


Lecture 14: The Haya

 Bravo:  Good morning again everyone...
Alright, very good, let us pick up with the recording where we left off.  Bervin stops to write again in the tunnel behind the Haya.  Um… this is about the second third of his journal entries.  Buervin was able to read this section for us as well.

Begin Tape
  “The light tapers off quickly as I stay on a constant move to what I believe to be the East.  I can rest for half an hour at the most.  But my enhanced taste and sight have done remarkable things for me.  Not only was I able to see the moist moss that would provide me with the most energy, but my enhanced sense of taste makes it taste better than it should have.  I can actually tell when the stored sugars, starches, and water from the moss enter my body.  It allows me to push on, although I know not where I am going.  I follow the lighted tunnel and suspect it to be the product of something just ahead, for my hearing has become acute as I travel north.  I am fearful of the thing or process creating the tunnel, but must pursue it to remain in the light.  I fear my encounter with it.
  “I have notched the days of my journey into my staff and believe it to be day 102.  I have not written for a month of notches but may have made mistakes without the sun to keep track.”
End Tape


Bravo:Okay, a really quick observation…We know here that Bervin lost all track of time down in the belly of his planet.  We have estimated the day Bervin refers to as his one-hundred and second day in the tunnel to actually be day three hundred and eleven, of his journey.  Being underground with no sunlight, and adjusting to his enhanced abilities given to him by the two stones he possessed, seemed to mess with his sense of time. 
"It seems as if he was able to find the moss filled with maximum energy.  If it were fruit, I would call it ripe.  After he found the perfect moss, his enhanced sense of taste somehow allowed his digestive system  to absorb all the nutrients his body needed.  He was so efficient that it actually made time go faster to him, or so we think.  So um, anyway, back to the journal.

Begin Tape
  “Today is a good day!  I have entered a chamber under the legendary Brietta Mount of the North Pole. The sun cast a beam of light straight through the diamond into the chamber, illuminating the entire room.  Today and tomorrow, I will rest and bask in the sun’s glory, for I have not seen, felt it, or tasted it in so long.  My hopes are high due to this light, but I do not know the course of my future actions.  I have encountered the worm of the tunnel; it is an awful creature.  Foul and hot with a screeching noise almost unbearable to my ears.  It howls while it sleeps and makes cracking hissing as it eats.  This is all enhanced within the confines of this tunnel, with a pitch so painful I was forced to drop back to the darkness for days allowing my ears to mend.  I hope not to encounter her again.”
  “It has been two days since my last journal entry.  I have discovered a miracle.  While I was sitting in this chamber, playing my Kinka, a small piece of the Brietta Mount broke from its base and fell into my lap.  It is the Stone of Hearing.  Now when I play my Kinka I can see the music vibrate like a soft wave out of the whistle and it is softly filling the chamber with vibrations. I know not what the resul..."
End Tape

Bravo:At this moment, we speculate that the worm returned to the chamber hissing and screeching, chewing and oozing and such.
Wait just a second. I think we have time to begin listening to the three sisters of the diamond mountain.  Here they will tell their story of meeting and helping Bervin “The Blue” on the next leg of his journey.  Let me just find the tape.  Wait until you hear these crazy old women!  They are a riot.  Ahha, here it is!  I should tell you, they all have the same name: Iaya. It can get confusing. 

Begin Tape
  “Alien?  You’re an off-worlder?  Well, now I’ve seen it all!”
  “You haven’t seen the sense to quit smoking that darn pipe around company Iaya.’"
  “Oh, Shush, Iaya! You don’t mind, do you, Lane Bravo.”
  “No Ma’am, go right ahead.”
  “So where were we?”
  “Oh yes, the off-worlder.”
  “Whom do you wish to know about from our humble young planet?”
  “Bervin from the village Keln.”
  “Village Keln…!  Oh, dear…”
  “Oh dear, indeed…”
  “Yes, yes dear…”
  “Yes, yes dear…”
  “We sent him to the East, you see, to the City of Ner.  It is there he needed to return.  Not Keln… no, no, no, no, not Keln.”
End Tape

Bravo:Heh, you know what I’ve never mentioned?  Direction...!  At the point in history that we are studying,  Keln maps were drawn with the Brietta Mount or Diamond as the point of reference.  If The Brietta Mount is the North Pole, which it is, South is the opposite, of course, and the village Keln and the City of Ner are located with Keln to the West and Ner to the East of the Mount.  They were the only two places where people lived in large groups until after the Unification.  Soon after that, the population grew, and there are currently seven villages and cities in Kelner.  They are all prospering.  Okay, back to the Iaya sisters...
  …Oh, a question?
Student:Yes, Doctor Bravo, I thought the land mass was moving as it came out of the North Pole.  How does the Brietta Mount or Diamond stay in one place?”
 Bravo:  Good question.  A scientist will tell you that it shouldn’t be attached to the North Pole by magnetism, gravity, or any other force or law of physics, but it is.  As the new Bayaya grows from the depths of the planet, the giant diamond does not budge.  The lava rock is still warm at the pole and it pushes around the Brietta Mount.  I do not have an explanation for it.  It’s magic, I guess.  Good question again, Ben.  I wish I could give you more than that.  Anyway, if there are no more questions, I’ll get us back to the Iaya Sisters.

Begin Tape
  “Ner is where he’s off to and then perhaps Keln.”
  “Iaya, quiet, you’re babbling ahead.”
  “Yes Iaya, hush yourself! Smoke your pipe you old Kesa.  Let Iaya tell the truth.”
  “Thank you, Iaya. That is what I will do.  Dear Lane, this is the story of Bervin, the one who is to unite the Common Sense Stones of Keln here in his forty-fifth year.  We were all napping ten days ago in the midday, as we always do, when the Good Mother Keln began to awaken.”
  “Yes, yes, that is the truth.”
  “Yes, she awoke.”
  “Yes, and as she awoke she began to sing.  At first, it was just a hum and a rhythm.  It was sad but hopeful.”
  “Very good Iaya…Sad, but hopeful, I agree.”
  “Very good Iaya…Sad but hopeful, I agree.”
  “Yes, sad but hopeful… hahahaaaa.”
  “Sorry about her, it’s that darn pipe. She’s losing her senses for sure.”
  “For certain.”
  “For certain.”
  “Lane, would you like a meal and water?”
  “I would love some, thank you.  What was the Awakening?”
  “Oh, of course, I forgot. It was the battle of sound for space.”
  “Yes. Bervin’s Kinka filled the chamber and that hurt the ears of the Haya. The Haya tried forcing the sound out with her sounds but the Kinka music is so soft and flexible, especially when enhanced by the Stones, as Bervin's was.”
  “You know of Bervin’s possession?”
  “Yes, yes of course.”
  “Do we know?  Why silly.”
  “Iaya...!  Quiet!”
  “Yes, Lane, we know of his possessions. We are Mother Keln’s guardians.  All of us, Glut, the Trul, the Iams, and the Haya were sent here to Keln to orchestrate the Unification.”
  “Orchestrate the Unification?  Please explain.”
  “You see, we were born over one thousand years ago, around the birth of the Good Mother Keln herself.  We have watched The Good Mother Keln grow and age gracefully and then witnessed her receive children of her own, Bervin’s people.  Moreover, as she aged, they aged, and they have become a wise people.  The mother and the children are good to one another.  They respect her and she nurtures them.
“It is good.”
 “Yes it is.”
 “They are ready for their blessing.”
 “The Stones!”
“The Stones!”
“The unification of the Common Sense Stones is the Good Mother’s blessing she is giving to her children.  It is time for them to come to their senses and take on the responsibility of caring for Mother Keln, for she is older now and did such a good job of raising them.  Her greatest gift to Bervin’s people is to unify the Sense Stones, with the help of Bervin, of course.”
  “Bervin’s efforts will grant her children the gift of the Common Senses.”
  “And, of course, they will be united, and prosperity will reside on Kelner and the Good Mother will rest!”
  “Yes, Bervin.”
  “So, you see, Lane, we are playing the music for the event and...”
  “Playing the music for the event and...”
  “Playing the music?  Yes, the Brietta Mount, of course.”
  “Bervin has just small pieces of the Common Sense Stones, including the Stone of Hearing,”
  “The Brietta Mount...?”
  “Yes, the Brietta Mount is the only Common Sense Stone that is not in the belly of the Good Mother Keln, for the sense that really make us our best to others is ‘listening.’”
  “We carved the stone with our chatter as it grew.  When the stone was lifted above the existing blanket of life…”
 “Yep, the blanket of life...”
 “Please, sisters, may I?”
“Yes, of course, Iaya.”
“Yes, of course.” 
“Lane Bravo, our magic is our chatter. We have carved the Brietta Mount with our chatter as it grew for many years, so that it was ready to be lifted.”
“Your talking carves the great diamond mountain?”
“That is correct. As the Mount lifted and our magical chatter chiseled the final cuts as we spoke with Bervin. The Mount took in our sun’s light.  I believe you have named it Eridaus.  The Brietta Mount separated the rainbow of colors and Blue was sprayed out over all of Bayaya, bringing Kelner the blue sky.  It is also the beginning of the next part of her wonderful history!”
  “All of Kelner!”
  “Yes, hah, Iaya is right.”
  “Is your job done?  What will you do now?
  “We do not know!  We do not know. Whoopee...!”
  “Sorry, Lane.  It is true we do not know, but we are very excited!”
  “Your story is truly remarkable ladies, truly remarkable.”
  “Anyway…  So... what of Bervin?”
  “Oh yes, Bervin, of course.”
  “Bervin told us all of the terrible screeching and hissing and bubbling of the worm.  He told us how the sounds united with the Kinka music, and how they battled for space in the chamber.  He told us how the noise became so loud he couldn’t hear it anymore, but instead, said it was as if he felt like he was a part of it as the noises battled in the chamber.”
  “Was Bervin still playing?”
  “No, no he wasn’t. But Kinka music is so soft and flexible that it can never be really broken.  With the enhancement of the stones, it was thicker and richer and more real, making it stronger so it could wrestle with the Haya’s screech.”
“You could feel it in your hands?”
“Do you understand?”
  “Yes I think I do.”
  “And when the two sounds battled for the space, they started to push and push and push up into the ceiling of the small cave and into the bottom of the mountain.  As they pushed, the mountain started to rise up out of the small chamber, forcing the top of the mountain to rise up above the land, raising dust into the air and sky, quickly uniting with the mist from Mother Keln’s breath.  This is how the clouds you see above were created. 
  “Dark, spooky great storms; large clouds”
  “Iaya is right.  The storm will last for the next few months.  It will be difficult for the villagers this winter, but next year is to be Keln’s first spring, and the following summer will be a wonderful summer.  That is the summer Bervin will return to the village with the Unification complete and bring in the era of sense to all the villagers. But for now, the storm season will keep him at Ner at least until the new clouds spread over Keln and find their balance.
  “Then what happened?”
  “Ahh, but Lane, it was not like that at all.  It was all happening at once; for you see, as the clouds were forming from the mountain moving upward, the mountain was still rising upward above the sky.”
  “Above the sky?”
  “Yes Lane, above the ‘Blanket of Life’”
“Yes, far above, and it rose out of Mother Keln, as a magnificent beacon toward the sun.  The sun saw it and shined brightly down on the Good Mother Keln, helping her to raise the mount over Keln.  This, in turn, lifted the sky three times its former height over Keln and best of all…”
  “Yes, yes, yes best, the best heehaa.”
  “Iaya...settle girl!  Ha-ha, she is correct, though it’s quite magnificent.”
  “It surely is.”
  “Yes look dear Lane, look above, what do you see?”
  “Well I’ll be a...the sky above the clouds, it’s blue.”
  “Yes, its blue.  All of Keln except for the pole directly below us is blue.”
  “But how?  The Brietta Mount is above us Lane, above us.”
  “Yes, just as Iaya told you, the sun above us, which you refer to as the star Eridaus, shines down into the mighty diamond mountain.  The light bounces around in the mountain and the color blue is reflected outward and around our Good Mother.”
End Tape

Bravo: Okay, I apologize.  I know we’re running late already.  I just want to recap what the Iaya sisters just told us.  When the music of his Kinka and the screeching of the Haya fought for space in the chamber below the Brietta Mount, the mountain was thrust up into the upper atmosphere of Keln.  This massive upheaval had many profound effects on the small planet.  Firstly, The Mountain reflected blue light into the sky.  This is the moment in Keln history when we here on Earth could see the planet for the first time.  Secondly, the Bayaya actually broke into three separate continents.  The third major change this monstrous event brought about was all the dust that was released.  The dust was thrown into the atmosphere for the water from the Boiling Waters or Good Mother’s Breath as they called it, to attach to and make the first clouds of the young planet. 
The clouds brought the storms that the Iaya Sisters refer to in the interviews.  Finally, all of this created weather patterns and seasons.  It was quite a remarkable transformation for the small planet.  Um…So anyway, I’ve kept you long enough.  We’ll get back to it tomorrow. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Guest author, Chris Sweigard

Today's guest is Chris Sweigard, author of Doctor Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Bervin ‘The Blue,’ a middle grade Science Fiction/ Fantasy novel.

Tell us about yourself

I live in Cincinnati, Ohio, and manage a nature shop for my parents.  I’m married with three boys ages 10, 7, and 10 months.  We also have a dog named Scooby Doo.  My wife has a career, so I keep busy with the boys and my own job, but I write whenever I can fit it in.  I’m a big baseball fan and also took up guitar about two years ago. 

When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?

I think I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember.  I’ve placed Author above Astronaut, Doctor, Pro Athlete, and Rock Star my whole life.

How did your decision to write change your life?

For me, it gives me that sense of purpose that is so often talked about.  I rarely feel like I should be doing something else when I’m writing.

Where do you get your ideas from?

I take general themes of history such as trade, social uprising, and class society and transform it into a fantasy history lesson.

Tell us about your most recent book.

Doctor Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Bervin ‘The Blue’ is Dr. Bravo’s first lecture in a series, which is sponsored by the Galaxy Program of N.A.S.H. or North American Space Headquarters.  Dr. Bravo, is the Director of the Galaxy Program, and it is his job to record the most important events in the history of the Galaxy.  N.A.S.H. has given access to a time traveling Light-surfer for the project.  This first bit of history is the story of Bervin ‘The Blue’ of the planet Kelner.  Bervin is given the daunting task of retrieving the Common Sense Stones of his young planet. Dr. Bravo, not being able to interview Bervin himself, obtains interviews with the Village Elders, Kanka the Lone-dweller, Jippy the fishing captain, the Iaya Sisters, and and others.  He couples them with Bervin’s own journal from his journey in order to bring the most accurate account of this history possible. 
As Bervin gained possession of the Common Sense Stones, his senses along with the rest of the planet’s became heightened to a level of awareness that had not been obtainable before.  There was a price, however.  Bervin’s actions raised the Brietta Mount, which cast massive amounts of dust into the atmosphere.  The raising of the Mount caused Sunlight to ricochet through the diamond Mountain and cast Blue over the  otherwise colorless sky.  It’s massive upheaval also fractured the lone landmass of the planet and created the first mountain range.  With the newly added dust in the atmosphere, clouds were formed and the four seasons were begun.  With the storms came the lakes and rivers, and Kelner was transformed.

Do you have another book in the pipeline?

Yes.  I am finishing the editing process on Doctor Lane Bravo’s Lectures on Andl Zenl.  It is Bravo’s record of a miner from the Ornario Asteroid Belt.  His history is considered noteworthy because he was able to move asteroids through open space closer to one another in order to create a trade alliance between their inhabitants.  His actions helped avoid war and transformed the social dynamics of the three asteroids forever.  I hope to have it out this year.  I am also working on the third installment of Dr. Bravo’s Lectures.  Those are concerned with the history of the Turtle Queen of Torrell, Cyntmort.  She blew up a star. 

What are your favorite books?

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis, A Spell for Chameleon by Piers Anthony, and White Fang by Jack London are some of my favorite books. 

Who is your favorite author and why?

That is an easy one!  C.S. Lewis is by far my favorite author.  He wrote like I aspire to write,  A great lesson within a great story.

Visit Chris at his website:

Sunday, May 26, 2013

June Short Fiction Competition

A friend of mine is having a short fiction contest on his blog. Read about it below:

June Short Fiction Competition - Win a £50 Amazon Gift Card

Welcome to the first short fiction writing competition here on The Cult of Me. This is the first of what I hope will be a monthly competition. At the start of every month (a little earlier in this case) I will post a new picture and you can then submit a short story (with a maximum word count of 500 words). At the end of the month I will pick the winners and announce them on this blog.

The winner's stories will be available here (and promoted across Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Stumbleupon and anywhere else I can) and you'll also have a link to your blog or website displayed alongside your story if you win. The winners will also receive an Amazon gift card:
  1. First Prize is a £50 gift card
  2. Second prize is a £20 gift card
  3. Third prize is a £10 gift card
Details on how you can enter are on his blog:

Friday, May 24, 2013

Beneath the Surface, excerpt

Yesterday we met Erren Grey Wolf, author of the Beneath the Surface series. Today read a sample of her work and my review of the second book in the series, Long-Lost Brother.


I started with the second book of the series, Long-Lost Brother, and although I enjoyed it, I felt I was missing something by not starting at the beginning. I recommend the book, but further recommend you read the series in order. Sean is a powerful protagonist who has a need for redemption in rescuing the brother he once abandoned.  You feel his pain as his younger brother Erren’s body rejects the food of this world, and Erren spirals toward starvation. If that weren’t hard enough, Erren’s father also rejects the boy because Erren’s mother died while giving birth to him.  Because of Erren’s telepathy, he, unfortunately, knows exactly what his father is thinking.  You just want to give Erren a hug and tell him everything would be all right, then turn and smack his father across the face. I thought the book was a bit wordy and could stand to be condensed, and the poems between chapters didn’t do much for me, but overall, it’s an enjoyable read. I rate it 4 stars.



In Beneath the Surface: The Lost Boy, an unusual boy is born on a spaceship bound for the planet Midgard, but his very birth brings sorrow to his family. Out of grief for the death of their mother, Sean Archer blames and abandons his baby brother in the forest by an old oak tree. He goes away hunting, never realizing the full consequences of his heartless act. The mysterious Queen of the Forest finds the sad, abandoned child and comforts him. She notices he is able to see her subjects, the elementals (fairies) of her forest, and feels connected to him. While she holds the child in her arms, she gazes into his future, but upon witnessing visions of horrific events, she decides to steal him away into the Otherworld to protect him. When Sean returns and finds Erren gone, guilt strikes him down and he becomes repentant. He sees his mother’s spirit and she tells him, “The forest took him.” Sean begins his noble quest to find his lost brother, to right the wrong he had done, unaware his search is awakening his latent telepathic gift. Inevitably, he comes to realize the longer he hunts, the more he doubts his sanity. The forest becomes haunted and there is a battle of wills as the mystical Queen Elaya tries to stop him from taking her little boy.



Sean dragged his baby brother through the majestic woods, where sweet birdsong questioned the complaints that interrupted their peaceful world. Sean did not appreciate the sylvan beauty all around him. In Titan, he had wistfully daydreamt about what Midgard would be like, but now he was here, he did not care. When he had set foot on his home planet two years ago and had left the spaceport, he saw snow for the first time, but he had not looked upon his new environment with wonder, as any normal child would. He had barely noticed anything. Shock had blinded him. In fact, he barely remembered anything at all that had happened during the first few months after his arrival. His memories of that time were all a blur.

Inside the Mississauga Forest, Sean was not thinking about brotherhood. He had not learned how important it was from the racist Titans who had forgotten the ideal for which humanity had originally built their space station. Living in Titan had made Sean bitter, but after the tragedy, he felt even worse! Right now, he was not thinking about brotherhood at all!

With no one to hear him in these beautiful woods except a toddler who would not understand him anyway, Sean cared less and less about repressing his anger. It bubbled to the surface in ever-increasing intensity as he cursed just like his father while grumbling to the unfair world, “This is my hunting day, for Christ’s sake! This is supposed to be my time alone! Why couldn’t Da take care of you?! He’s always running away and dumping you on me! I don’t want you to drag me down, goddammit! This is bloody unbelievable! This is just goddamned unbelievable! How am I going to run around hunting with your stubby little legs?!”

Erren looked up to Sean in many ways, but his eyes creased with the worry he felt about Sean’s tirade. He had never heard his brother so angry before. He was almost as angry as Da often was and that made Erren afraid the red would soon come. He tried his best to keep up with his big brother and not complain, but Sean pulled him a little too fast and despite Erren’s best efforts, he tripped a couple of times on the uneven forest floor and got his bare knees all dirty. This made Sean’s irritability even worse and he sounded more and more like his father as he criticized, “Oh for God’s sake, Erren! Keep up! Come on!”

Erren was trying to do just that! He was trying so hard to please his big brother, but he was so small!

The muddy trail ended when they came to a grand English oak tree called the Old Man Oak, whose buds had opened into small, growing leaves. At this tree, about a kilometre deep into the forest, Sean pulled his brother to where he wanted him to be and pushed him down between two thick roots of the oak on the west side where the ground was dry. He noticed one of Erren’s shoes was missing. Bending over his little brother, he demanded angrily, “Where’s your bloody shoe?!” As he looked at the muddy foot that remained, he added, “Where’s your goddamned sock?!”

Erren looked up at Sean with growing anxiety. He truly loved his older brother and it pained him when Sean spoke to him so harshly. He wished he had not lost his shoe and sock. He wished Sean were not angry with him again. In fact, Sean had not stopped being angry with him since they left the house. In answer to Sean’s questions, Erren quietly and timidly pointed back the way they had come.

“DAMN IT, ERREN!” shouted Sean with his fists clenched as if his voice could give the punch he felt like giving. He no longer cared about repressing his anger for fear of making Erren cry. He had reached his limit and was now bursting out emotionally. Deep in the forest, no one was around to stop him from being mean to his little brother.

Erren flinched, covering his face protectively. Red had appeared in Sean’s aura and had exploded at him like shrapnel with those angry words, hitting not just Erren, but the unfair world around him. Erren felt emotionally hurt by the verbal attack and his own aura exploded in response, but with livid grey C shapes flying outwards, indicating his sudden fright.

Sean’s red and Erren’s grey shapes were thought-forms on the mental plane of existence. They were visual representations of the boys’ own thoughts as influenced by their emotional state and lasted only briefly. Thought-forms happen all the time, but few can see them. Erren saw his brother’s thought-forms, but Sean could not see Erren’s. Usually, Erren preferred his calm, older brother to his quick-tempered father, but the intensity of Sean’s angry outburst surprised him so much that he found himself wishing his da were here.

Sean straightened up and looked back along the trail. When Erren looked back at his brother with widened eyes, he lowered his hands timorously, but covered his chest defensively. He dared not make a sound. He did not cry yet; he was too shocked that such an angry outburst had come from his big brother!

Through Erren’s eyes, you could see Sean’s aura was in two main layers. Although, in Sean’s particular case, the inner aura of the body had two layers of its own, being tan closest to the body with blue surrounding it. The outer aura of the spirit was a violet glow around that. This was the normal appearance of his aura. His present emotional state, however, was producing a fearsome slash of vivid red seemingly cutting up diagonally through his heart and rising to swirl around his throat from the pain in his wounded heart that caused him to speak so angrily. His antagonistic attitude towards his brother made the edges of his aura jagged.

Sean was oblivious to such things as auras and had no idea his brother could see them. He had no idea his brother had become afraid of the red that sometimes appeared in his father’s aura and now his own. All Sean was thinking about was the damned shoe and sock were probably stuck in the mud somewhere back along the trail. “Oh Goddammit!” he vociferated just like his father, but without the Irish accent. He decided he would look for them on the way back. For now, Sean pointed to Erren’s position sternly while he told his brother as one would command a dog, but without the affection, “Stay right there, Erren! STAY!”

Erren froze where he sat, like a little mouse hidden in the grass, fearing a nearby predator. Sean had never been this angry before. It made him afraid, adding pale grey to his aura in the form of a little cloud above his head. He had always thought Sean had loved him more than his da did. He had always been more gentle and patient, but now he witnessed a different Sean. This was the part of Sean that hid beneath the surface and now rose up full of anger, impatience, and resentment.

Erren’s eyes began to water.

Sean turned to leave, still clenching his fists, but tempted by the isolation of the forest and haunted as much by his mother’s painful and bloody death as his father was, he looked back at his sad and scared little brother and shouted a most unkind and terrible thing, “IF IT WEREN’T FOR YOU, MA WOULD STILL BE ALIVE!”

Once said, Sean turned his back on his kid brother and ran away southward, fighting back tears. He did not care if his anger made Erren cry this time. He would not be there to hear it! He ran off like his father and left Erren all alone in the untamed woods after finally voicing what both he and his father had been secretly thinking for the past two years.

When Sean had shouted those harmful words, Erren gasped and flinched again, putting his hands up to protect his face against the explosive red thought-forms of anger: all the shrapnel shapes Sean unknowingly shot like arrows at his little brother more exclusively this time. Erren did not comprehend all his brother’s parting words, but he understood the emotion behind them, biting him deeper and hurting him more. As he was besieged, Erren had the horrible realization that his father’s and his brother’s anger were a punishment, not just for the little things he had done, but for something terrible he had done. Even when they did not direct their anger towards him, he was somehow responsible. He was to blame for all of it.

He was to blame.

Erren felt burdened with a heavy guilt he was too young to bear or understand. He had no concept of what “alive” meant, for to understand that, he would have to understand what “death” meant and he had no concept of that, either. Since his father and brother almost never talked about her and since he had never even seen her, he also did not understand who “Ma” was. He did not know what he had done wrong, but he knew it must have been something very, very bad.

As Sean stormed off, Erren’s eyes followed him through a blur of tears, wishing his big brother would not leave him all alone. As he drew shaky breaths, he wiped his eyes with trembling hands so he could clearly see his brother return. He needed Sean to come back and say everything was all right now. He needed Sean to come back and not be angry with him anymore; but more than anything else in the world, he needed Sean to come back and love him again.

Erren hardly breathed as he watched his big brother run farther and farther south through the trees. When his tears blurred his eyes again, he wiped them away only to see his brother was gone. Erren’s chin trembled. In the aftermath of Sean’s angry words, the forest was too quiet. The birds did not sing and the wind did not rustle the budding leaves. Erren had thought his brother loved him, but when Sean left, he took love with him, leaving behind a hole now flooded with shock and despair. The shaky sobs of a broken-hearted child seemed swallowed up by the vastness of the forest as Erren pathetically continued to stare at the place he had last seen his big brother, hoping he would reappear …

… but the forest hid Sean from sight, leaving behind an emotionally wounded little boy at the foot of the old oak tree.



In Long-Lost Brother, Sean’s telepathy fully awakens when he finds the lost boy. He discovers that his brother had been living in a mystic palace beneath the surface of the forest. Unfortunately, when Sean brings Erren home, he finds an ancient fairy tale proves to be true: once a human has eaten the foods of the Otherworld, he can never eat the foods of the outer world ever again. To complicate matters, unresolved family problems worsen the issue. Sean’s father never came to terms with the death of his wife during childbirth and can give his youngest son no love; instead, he drowns his sorrows in alcohol. Five years ago, Sean blamed Erren for his mother’s death and did not seem to care whether his brother lived or died. Now Sean fears that the life of the little boy he has come to love is slipping perilously out of his hands and he is desperate to find a solution before his kid brother starves to death in a land of plenty.



Midgard had no moon, so Moonday, Monday, was no more. The French no longer called it Lundi for the same reason. The settlers named the day, Lokisday, after the planet nearest the sun, Loki. Little did Sean know that Lokisday was going to be his lucky day.

After midnight on this day, the thirteenth of Twelfthmonth, a lone grey wolf loped purposefully through the forest in the moonless darkness of the Midgard night. Her breath frosted in the air as she ran through the woods. After travelling a long way, she exited the forest, ran down a hill, and passed through the transparent blue forcefield barrier like a ghost. She crossed a snowy field that many sheep had trampled on and made dirty, yet she unnaturally ignored the sheep, all of which fled the intruder, baaing as they went. The wolf passed through the next forcefield fence and slowed her pace until she stopped beneath Sean’s east-facing bedroom window on the left side of the back of the house. The wolf uttered a short howl and waited for a response from inside. When nothing happened, she tried again.

Sean was fast asleep in bed after a very emotional day. He had a spiritual crisis in the heart of the Mississauga Forest on Sunday morning and almost lost all hope of ever finding his missing brother. In the Haunted Clearing, he had become dangerously depressed and had wanted to die at the base of the Grandmother Oak, where once he had found a tiny bare footprint that may or may not have belonged to his little brother.

Spiritually and physically exhausted, the sixteen-year-old slept deeply that night. He lay on his right side, facing his east window and the forest beyond the forcefield fences that surrounded the farm. His mind was always on his brother and on the forest that had taken him. He had many dreams about that forest, but almost three hours after midnight, he had the strangest dream yet:

Sean was in the Haunted Clearing, an eerie place where nothing grew within the ring of tall, straight sentinel trees save the snow-covered Grandmother Oak, who spread out her branches in the very centre. He could hear wolves howling all around, setting the surreal stage. A beautiful, mystical woman caught his eye as she appeared beside the old oak tree. Where she came from, he did not know. A silver tiara held back her long, white-blonde hair. She wore a sparkling white gown with a silver belt that hung down in front. She seemed young, yet motherly at the same time. She held her back straight and stately as a queen, commanding respect, yet full of love. Her body seemed otherworldly phosphorescent and a violet glow expanded about two metres all around her. She seemed like an angel, but when he looked at her, he did not think of Heaven; he thought of fresh white snow covering the forest in winter.

This ethereal beauty held out her hand to him, beckoning in a regal manner. ‘Come,’ she thought to him without moving her lips, adding more to the mysticism of the moment. Sean did not know that in this single word, the Queen of the Forest erased the negative effects of her secret Appeals to drive him out of her forest and stop his quest to find his lost brother.

Sean walked unsurely towards this tall, stately woman and stood before her, barefoot in the snow, wearing beige pyjamas displaying scenes of stags in majestic poses. He instinctively bowed out of respect. Once he looked up and beheld her unusual violet eyes, she smiled serenely. She reached out a graceful hand to touch her right index finger to the centre of his forehead and made him see a brilliant flash of white light as bright as the sun!

Sean awoke suddenly with a gasp as his body jolted as if it had been shocked. He turned over and sat up, startled at first to find not light, but only darkness inside his room. He remembered the dream vividly and wondered what it meant.

Before he could think further on the matter, he heard something outside. He got out of bed and fumbled around in the dark to press a button on the wall to raise the blind on his east window. He leaned over his desk to look outside. The transparent blue sheets of light of the forcefield fences were all that illuminated the dark world.

He heard it again: a furtive howl. He climbed onto his desk, kneeling, and opened his window, letting in the cold air. He leaned out and looked down. To his amazement, he saw a wolf!

“Oh my God! A wolf! Holy Christ! The sheep! One of the pylons must be down!” His heart raced as he did a quick visual search of the forcefield barriers from his perch, worrying that a whole pack might have gotten in, yet he could not see any voids in the fences; at least, he saw none from his limited vantage point. The sheep yard behind the backyard was still intact, but beyond that, he did not know. He would have to wake up his da and have him check the whole grid on his computer to see which pylons were down and scan for other predators. Going out to shoot this seemingly lone wolf might be dangerous if it had come with its pack.

Sean thought it might also be possible that the wolf had gotten through the piled rock barrier on the outside of the farm fence and had dug underneath the forcefield. If that were the case, it must also have dug underneath the forcefield that surrounded the grounds of the farmhouse. He had to wake up his da!

Sean backed up to close the window …

The wolf uttered a short howl at him, standing on her hind legs briefly, as if she wished to jump up to reach him. He leaned out again. She had his full attention. The wolf was staring up at him and he found he could not tear his gaze away from it. They looked right at each other. Yellow eyes, which seemed greener from the surrounding blue light, gazed into his hazel ones. He stared for some time and all the wolf did was sit down on the flat, snow-covered patio stones expectantly.

“That is really odd,” he said to himself in puzzlement, rubbing his hairless chin absently. “Why is it here and not attacking one of the sheep? Or has it already?”

Sean got off his desk and, after retrieving a flashlight from a drawer in his bedside table, he climbed back onto his desk and leaned out the window. He shone the light down on the wolf for a better look. The animals of the Mississauga Forest were familiar to the young hunter, so he knew from the narrower shape of the forehead, smaller muzzle, and less massive shoulders, that this wolf was a female, but why she sat there, he did not know. He saw no blood on her muzzle, so she had not made a major kill recently and did not appear to be in a hurry to do so.

The she-wolf curiously did not run away from his light, though she clearly did not like it shining in her eyes. She blinked and sneezed her displeasure.

“This wolf is not acting the way a wolf should.” Sean did not know how she got in, but she ignored the sheep in the yard right behind her. Instead, she sat there staring up at him! “Why is she –?”

The she-wolf got to her feet and uttered an impatient howl, facing him exclusively, as if her intent were to communicate directly to him. Sean’s eyebrows rose! He had never seen a wolf act like this before. She absolutely mystified him!

“What the hell?” Sean saw something in the beam of his flashlight that he almost missed. The grey-coloured wolf had something hanging from her neck. He saw a grey object against the white fur of her throat.

“Oh my God!” His eyes went wide. “No! It can’t be!”

The wolf was wearing an entrance key.

Sean changed clothes in a flurry of motion and ran down the stairs as furtively as the impatient young man could possibly go. By the front door, he put on his boots and dark brown leather jacket. His Golden Labrador Retriever did not come to see him off this time. His loveable pet slept soundly in his bed box behind the stairs. “Some guard dog you are,” Sean whispered, which was not fair, because his father had never intended for Halifax to be one.

Sean took out his d-rifle from its cabinet beside the door and slung it over his left shoulder for an easy right-handed draw. His Hunter’s Education Course instructor trained him to use his Gwynn 10 mm the same way the Fleet Army used their Greenfields. He shoved his gloves on and jammed his close-fitting, dark brown woollen toque on his head. He raced out the front door and ran around the south side of the house to the backyard where he saw the wolf last.

He found her still beneath his window, as if waiting for him.

In an instant, Sean had his weapon in both hands and aimed along the sights of his deadly disintegrator rifle, but he had no intention to shoot this mystery. He turned on the light attached to the bottom of the barrel of his Gwynn to see the entrance key around her neck more clearly. “Who put that there, girl?” he asked without expecting a reply. ‘If only she could talk,’ he thought.

The wolf did not like having the light shining in her eyes. She turned away, loped off across the backyard, and ran into the sheep yard, passing easily through the backyard forcefield fence. Her presence disturbed the sheep and they fled in the opposite direction, baaing in protest, but the wolf did not go near them. She merely ran out the sheep yard, able to pass through the outer farm fence with her entrance key.

Sean raced after the wolf. He ran through the sheep yard and leapt trustingly through the second forcefield to clear the rocks piled up on the other side that prevented predators from digging underneath the fence. He wondered about that entrance key! Only Sean’s father, Colin Archer, could program the keys to allow entry into his farm. Only the Archers and the Fosters across the street had access to such keys and only one of them was missing.

That key went missing five years ago when two-year-old Erren was lost in the forest. Colin never deleted its authorization, hoping Erren would somehow find his way back home.

“How the hell did that wolf get that key?!” wondered Sean as he ran.

Sean pursued the wolf with zeal up the hill and into the great Mississauga Forest with his d-rifle’s flashlight the only light in the blackness. He thought about how unwelcome the forest had seemed the past year. Recently, it had seemed as if the forest had spoken to him, telling him to, ‘Go home,’ and, ‘Leave,’ making him think his sanity was becoming as lost as his brother, but crazy or not, this time the wolf seemed to be an open invitation!

Sean ran like hell until he found it hard to catch his breath, yet the wolf kept going. “Wait!” he cried, huffing and puffing.

The wolf did not respond.

The young man was strong from many long hikes and he had run quite a distance, but he had pushed himself beyond his limits. His legs and lungs were burning, but even though he tried to force himself to go farther, he eventually just collapsed in the snow. The wolf did not wait for him and disappeared out of sight.

Sean was exhausted. “Damn it!” he exclaimed breathlessly, pounding his fist in the snow. Wolves had the endurance to outrun the fittest human.

As Sean rested his forehead on one arm while he regained his strength, he realized with apprehension that the black forest surrounded him in the dead of night as he chased after what might be a ghost. Maybe he had cracked. Maybe this was his final breakdown. He had been searching for Erren for five years and now he chased after what could not be. Perhaps the gods were mocking him. Maybe they will send the White Bird of Death for him this night.

About to cry in despair again, as he did yesterday when he lost all hope, he instead pounded his fist in the snow and angrily forced it down. “No!” he said and pushed himself to his feet. He pointed his d-rifle down to shine the flashlight on the snow to look for the wolf’s tracks. They were there. They were real. He followed them at his own pace, confident in his tracking abilities.

He slung his d-rifle over his left shoulder and took out his pocket tracker. On its screen, the rectangular device indicated the wolf as a blinking dot, flashing white and red alternately because the white indicated the entrance key and the red warned of the predator. It was getting farther and farther ahead. Using his right index finger, which his glove did not cover, Sean touched the screen of his tracker where the dot was to zoom in on it. He had to press twice before the tracker zoomed in enough to display the identifier within the entrance key the she-wolf was wearing.

The full-screen readout showed: Erren Tristan Archer, 1903 Longview Road, Oakville, Ontario …

Sean did not need to know the rest. That confirmed the wolf wore the missing key. What remained of the dark depression that had almost drowned him yesterday was gone in that instant. His purpose and hope were completely renewed. His weary spirit brightened up. In fact, he felt energized!

“Oh my dear God!” said Sean, shoving the tracker back in his pocket and marching on with d-rifle in hand. That settled it! “I am going to track you down until the end of the world or I’ll die trying! I swear to God in Heaven! You are not getting away from me, wolf! I’ve hunted down bigger game than you!”

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Guest Author, Erren Grey Wolf

Today, welcome Erren Grey Wolf, author of the Beneath the Surface series, two of which book are available: The Lost Boy and Long Lost Brother. Come back tomorrow for a sample of her work.

First of all, is Erren Grey Wolf really your name, or is it a pen name?

I legally changed my name to Erren Grey Wolf. My original name was so popular that there were two of us with the same first and last name at the walk-in clinic I used to go to, which made me worried if they ever got our files mixed up! I wanted to have a unique name. Erren is an old word for Ireland, and Grey Wolf is my Totem.

Tell us a little about yourself.

Personally? I have Bipolar Disorder, which I think has made me more creative, but at the same time, it’s a nightmare. I would not be able to function without medicine.

What made you want to become a writer?

I did not at first want to become a writer. I wanted to be an artist, but after my second breakdown in 2004-5, I had to take Lithium, which made my hands shake. This forced me to quit art school. That was a very painful decision, and I mourned the loss of my artistic talent. However, my creativity demanded an outlet, and I set down to writing the stories I have had in my head since I was a teenager. Once I began writing seriously, my imagination exploded and what started as one paragraph has now become a series of at least 10 books!

Your novel Long-Lost Brother contains poetry between chapters, can you tell us your inspiration for writing it that way?

I wrote about some sorrowful things and poems just sprang naturally from them to describe situations in a different way. My stories inspired my poems. It gives me another way to express my creativity.

You make a lot of references to Norse Mythology in your book. Can you talk about that and how it impacts the novel?

I love mythology. I was quite the nerd in high school and used to spend lunch hours in the library studying mythology. My books have both Celtic and Norse mythology within them. For example: Sean’s disintegrator rifle is called a Gwynn 10 millimetre. Gwynn ap Nudd is the Welsh leader of the Wild Hunt. In the first book, The Lost Boy, Sean has a dream about the Stagman taking him along on the Wild Hunt when he was searching for his brother in the forest. Within the second book, I use the stag as a symbol for Sean, the hunter, as if he were the leader of the Wild Hunt himself. When the enemy captures Erren in the fourth book, Wolfboy, Sean again plays the hunter as he searches for his missing brother.

 As for Norse mythology, I named all the planets and the days of the week after Norse gods. In the sixth book, The Dragon Assassin, when Erren is turned into an assassin, he has a Viking 9 mm as a disintegrator handgun to symbolize how Viking marauders used to invade foreign countries to kill. He also has a Surtfyre sword. Surt was the Viking fire giant with a flaming blade and “fyre” is the Norwegian word for “fire.” His blade burns so hot it glows white and can slice through anything.

As yet, I only have the first two books published, but as you can see, I have the series all planned out. Most of it is already written and just needs polishing. I hope to have the third book out by the end of this year.

Your novel contains a mixture of science fiction and fantasy. Can you talk about that blend and what drew you to write in a mixed genre?

I never intended to write in any particular genre at all. I wrote the stories in my head, and they just came out that way. I love science fiction and fantasy stories, so I guess their influence merged into a crossover genre.

You named one of your main characters after yourself. Is this because you saw yourself in him? Or is there some other reason?

When I was a teenager, I had many problems with my Bipolar Disorder, which was at that point undiagnosed. My concentration grew worse in my high school years, and I often could not stay focused on my homework. I ended up many times retreating into a corner behind my desk and just sat there daydreaming about being another person in another place. I daydreamt about the two brothers, Sean and Erren. Erren was always getting into trouble or getting wounded, and Sean was always there to rescue and heal him. Perhaps some part of me wished someone would rescue and heal me. I identified with Erren so completely that I later took his name for my own. When I changed my name, I never realized at the time that I would actually write these stories. Now that I am writing them, it’s kind of weird that one of the characters has the same name as myself, but I wouldn’t change his name to anything else. He is my alter ego.

What other inspirations lie behind your book?

I believe my stories welled up from my subconscious and presented my problems to me in a symbolic way. There’s a lot of truth in my stories, if you read between the lines. My whole life is in this series. There’s a lot of sorrow and trauma that has been put together in a symbolic and creative way.

Are your characters based off real people, or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

Erren, of course, is my alter ego. Sean … I don’t know where he came from. Perhaps he is my wiser, Higher Self? Perhaps he is that part of me that is trying to heal me?

Of all the characters you have created, which is your favorite and why?

Sean is my favourite. He is the loving brother I never had. My own brother is a real asshole.

What is the biggest surprise that you experienced after becoming a writer?

That I would write such a huge saga of at least 10 books! I started with a single chapter in an autobiography! That chapter grew so big that I stopped working on my autobiography to work solely on my science fiction/fantasy stories.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you either growing up or as an adult?

I love J.R.R. Tolkien and Isaac Asimov. I love the Lord of the Rings. That is also based on a mythological story.

Do you have a day job in addition to being a writer?  If so, what do you do during the day? 

I write all day, almost every day.

What is your favorite writing tip or quote?

“Fantasy is escapist, and that is its glory. If a soldier is imprisoned by the enemy, don't we consider it his duty to escape?. . .If we value the freedom of mind and soul, if we're partisans of liberty, then it's our plain duty to escape, and to take as many people with us as we can!” J. R. R. Tolkien

Tell us a little about your plans for the future.  Do you have any other books in the works?

My future is to publish all the books in my saga. As I have mentioned, I have about 10 books so far.

Where can we find you online?


Friday, May 17, 2013

Tunnel W, Excerpt

Yesterday, we chatted with Michele M. Reynolds. Today read an excerpt from Tunnel W.


FREE On Smashwords

Tunnel W- After being forced to run into a high-risk prison tunnel, a fearless woman uses the two officers who chased her in there to help her escape.

"I can't believe they bucketed me,” she thought. She never thought she would be a Relo. She swore she would not be a victim, but here she was captured and eating carpet. The carpet smelled like rock salt. Her face look toward the front seat. She could see a dime under the black seat. Her hands were strapped behind her back by electronic cuffs. Four large shoes attached to two large people were on her back and legs.
"It is hard enough to sit up from this position, let alone fight," she thought. "That's probably why they have me like this." She was glad she had positioned her belt buckle to her left hip. Nobody ever wears their belt buckle in the center anymore in case of being bucketed. Bucketed that is what they call being thrown in the back of a car with bucket seats.
She didn't even remember that it was the 1st of the month. She had been told by elders that the 1st of the month used to just meant turning your calendar to a new picture of a cute kitten or beautiful landscape. Now it means that you better turn and run and watch your back. You never knew when it was going to be your turn to be bucketed. It was a 1 in a 1,000 chance in her city.
There was a sharp pain in her knee.
"Lay off the knee you Swabby!" she managed to yell from the floor mats. The Swabby on her knee lifted up his or her feet and placed them lower on her calf. The Swabby with her feet on her back pushed harder and leaned down close to her head.
"Listen here, Relo," the Swabby said through her gritted teeth. "We don't have to take anything from you. We have lost many lives during transfer. It is nothing to us. We can hit you again if you want."
"Look Amazon, let's not let the estrogen run wild in here," she answered. "No reason for me to piss all over your van." Then that Swabby grabbed her hand and twisted it hard. A surge went up her arm, but she refused to scream.
"Easy," the other Swabby said. It was a young man's voice. "She will bring us a lot of points. She is in good shape. I need the points, so easy, easy."
"Hear that sweetie," Amazon Swabby said. "Your lucky my partner here is sticking up for you."
"Look just take these cuffs off me, and you and I can go toe to toe, Amazon," she answered. Amazon Swabby scoffed.
"Nothing like that will happen," the male Cutie Swabby interjected. "I have the taser on the highest level.” She heard the clicking of the taser gun. "Got it?"
"Got it," she answered. "Hey, can we at least stop for some fries?" She loved that saying. She had no idea what fries tasted like, but remembered them from some old 1990's movies.
"Get her prints," Amazon Swabby ordered. Guy Swabby grabbed her hands and gently slid her fingers into something that felt like have a soft, plastic glove. The glove tightened on her hand and she smiled.
"Whhhattt?" Cutie Swabby said.
"Is it one of those hard to pronounce names," Amazon Swabby asked as her voice trailed. She was looking out the back window.
"Nope," Cutie Swabby answered.
"Fingerprints removed?" Amazon Swabby asked.
"Nope there are fingerprints alright," Cutie Swabby answered. "According to this, she is five people."
"Let me see that," Amazon Swabby answered as she grabbed the fingerprint translator from him. "Okay, so Janis Joplin, Cassie Cain, Penny Parker, Harriet Truman and Alannah Scott. So which one is it honey?" Amazon Swabby called down to her and dug the heel of her boot into her back.
“Take your pick,” she answered as she chuckled.
“How do people address you?” Cutie Swabby asked. He actually seemed puzzled.
“They don't,” she answered.
“I am sending this in about Ms. Five here,” Amazon Swabby said.
“Sindi, we. . . what,” Cutie Swabby said and then whispered. “I have never run into this.”
This statement was followed by silence. She heard some light ticking on something and realized Sindi was probably typing a message into base.
“Vizio, they said to take her into Tunnel W,” Sindi said.
“What?” Vizio asked. “Is that necessary? She is just a . . . girl.”
“Orders,” Sindi said.
She lay on the floor under their feet with just the sounds of the road funneling through her left ear. She could see the black shoes of the driver up front. The driver's right foot pushed on the gas and left foot tapped lightly as if to the beat of music. She thought about how music, singing, and dancing helped people through many tough times. She thought about busting into song but knew that would drive Sindi's heel harder into her back.
She was going to Tunnel W. It must be a terrifying place. She heard the quiver in Vizio's voice. The car turned onto a gravel road. Sindi moved forward and tapped the hard, plastic divider between the back and front seat.
“Tunnel W!” Sindi yelled. The car veered a hard right.
As her face lay against the rug, she felt her adrenaline kick in. She slowly started moving her wrists back and forth trying to loosen the restraints. She attempted to pull her wrists away from each other the restraints got tighter.
“Sweetie, you are going to get your wrists cut-off if you keep struggling. So struggle all you want,” Sindi laughed.
“They are mechanical, electronic ya' know,” Vizio said. “Stop struggling.”
She said nothing. They stopped and she could hear the driver roll down the window and share words with someone. It sounded like two guys speaking. She tried to lift her head and to look at the guard. Sindi pushed her feet into her slamming her to the floor.
“Easy there Amazon!” she said. “Save it for your husband.”
“You know you will get what you deserve. You should be scared,” Sindi's voice grew to a whisper. “I wouldn't even step foot into Tunnel W.”
A small horn sounded and she heard what she thought was a gate opening. Her adrenaline was kicking in faster. She steadied her breathe, closed her eyes, and smiled. The car stopped and Sindi got out first. As she stepped out she put extra pressure on her captives back, and pushed the palm of her hand into the back of her captive's head. Sindi slammed the door shut.
“Easy now,” Vizio said. “Don't make me zap you.” Vizio opened the door. “Ok get up on your knees and I will guide you out.” She got on her knees. Vizio grabbed her wrists and pulled her backwards out of the van. 
Vizio led her a few steps away from the van. Before her stood a man in a brown suit, another man in what seemed to be a guard uniform, and a woman about six feet tall. She guest the woman was Sindi. Vizio stood behind her still holding her wrists that were fastened behind her.
“This her?” the man in the suit asked. He had brown and gray hair and a receding hairline. His face wore many wrinkles.
“This is she,” she answered.
“Feisty huh?” the suit asked.
“Yes, sir,” Vizio answered. “But no problem picking her up. I am thinking that this must be some misunderstanding. I don't think she is Tunnel W level.”
“Officer?” the suit man asked as he looked at Sindi.
“No problem, just a big mouth, sir,” she answered. With that the man in the business suit waived the guard off and the guard walked over to a booth 100 feet away. She looked around her. They were in the middle of what looked like a common. In front of her was a wall made of gray, square rocks. It looked to be about 200 feet tall. In the middle of wall was an opening with an arced entryway. Behind her was the road from which she came down. There was a weird blue hue that tainted the trees and mountains.
“Surrounded by a force field,” Vizio whispered to her. “You don't want to get within ten feet of that.”
A few guards emerged from a building attached to the wall. They were about 100 yards away. She looked back at the man in the business suit. He was squinting with the sun behind her. He reached into his jacket and pulled out a pair of sunglasses and put them on.
“Do you know who I am?” he asked.
“I am assuming I should,” she answered.
“Yes you should,” he answered. “I am High Commander, Sam Day. I run the tunnels.”
“You must be fit,” she answered. “You know all that running.”
He let out a short laugh and said, “Now your turn.”
“Turn?” she asked.
“Turn to introduce yourself,” he answered. “That was rather clever with your aliases.”
“Did you guys know them?” Sam asked Vizio and Sindi.
“No sir,” Vizio answered and Sindi just shook her head.
“One of them was a druggie a hundred years ago,” Sam said.
“Janis Joplin, musician,” she said over her shoulder to Vizio. He tightened his grip on her wrists.
“One of them was the name for cat woman or bat woman or something,” Sam continued.
“Cassie Cain,” she said as she turned to Sindi. “She would kick your ass.” Sindi's lips formed a snarl.
“Then there were two names that were tough,” Sam said. “But with some time I found it. The female versions of Spiderman and the Green Lantern.”
“Nobody reads comics anymore. It is such a shame,” she said as she moved her wrist apart and the restraints got tighter.
“Stop squirming,” Vizio whispered. “I can't loosen them on you.”
The guards were only 20 yards from them at this time. One of the guards slowed as he saw her. He put his arm out and stopped the other guard and seemed to say something to him.
“And then there was Tubman,” Sam said as he looked at her.
“Queen of the underground railroad,” she said to all of them.
The approaching guards turned pale and reached for their weapons. She was the only one that noticed the fear in their eyes.
“Rebel,” one of the approaching guards said. “Rebel!” he yelled. Sam's eyes went wide. Vizio tightened his grip on her wrists.
“Rebel?” Sam asked. “You?”

Tunnel W is FREE on Smashwords

Michele M. Reynolds is author of three publications Trail Swap, Off-Trail, and Tunnel W. These can be found on Amazon, Smashwords, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble

Check-out her blog at