First, let’s set the scene…The city of Auckland, sometime in the future. It’s 15 years after The Day of Disaster, a catastrophic event, wherein a vast crack in the earth’s crust nearly circled the globe. Our main character, Skylee Porter is on her way to the recently restored New Sky Tower to go bungee jumping.Imagine finding out the necklace you’ve been given (as an inheritance in your father’s will) holds a magical power…and there’s a mysterious man, who will stop at nothing to take it from you. Now imagine he comes for it at the top of The New Sky Tower! How will you escape?
The following is an excerpt from Book One of The Primortus Chronicles.
It was a relief when they reached the corner of Federal and Victoria streets and entered the base of the Sky Tower. Skylee was pleased to learn that her book, still secretly hidden inside the backpack, could be safely secured inside a locker while she bungee jumped.
Once Ann had bought the tickets and signed the forms, they lined up for the elevator ride to the top. As they waited Skylee felt the necklace, which was tucked under her shirt, warming against her skin. She decided to ignore it hoping it would return to normal.
Moments later their tour guide arrived. He explained that he would also serve as the bungee instructor for the brave few who planned to jump. He was a tall, attractive guy, even dressed in the dorky bright orange uniform and white gloves. His dark blonde hair had that shaggy but styled thing going on, and he wore trendy sunglasses. His oration about the Sky Tower turned out to be surprisingly unrehearsed. Skylee wondered if this was perhaps his first day on the job.
“The New Sky Tower is three hundred and forty meters tall,” the guide began. “Uh, making it um…one of the tallest towers in the world. I think it’s…yeah, it’s as tall as the New Eiffel Tower.” He took a deep breath and the next part of his speech flew out at high speed. “The tower was designed to withstand winds in excess of one hundred and twenty miles per hour. It even survived a nine point three earthquake on the Day of Disaster. The New Sky Tower recently reopened to the public after years of reconstruction and repair.”
Will leaned over and whispered in Skylee’s ear, “I didn’t know you were so famous. You have a tower named after you, Sky.”
Skylee rolled her eyes at him. It was hard to decide which was worst Airon calling her Skippy or Will’s Sky joke. She placed her fingers in an L on her forehead, turned toward Will and dramatically mouthed the word loser. Catching a glimpse of the guide staring, she quickly dropped her hand. He smiled oddly at her and she looked away, suddenly aware that he might have thought she was making fun of him.
As Skylee stepped onto the elevator she noticed her necklace warming. The sensation made her stomach churn as the elevator took off. She tried to ignore it and listen to the guide’s speech.
“There are something like…twelve hundred steps…uh wait, yes, twelve hundred and eighty-five steps from the base of Sky Tower to Sky Deck,” he continued, looking down at his white glove, which was covered with writing. “On a clear day you can see approximately fifty one miles from the Sky Tower.”
Skylee felt the elevator lurch to a stop and someone took her by the hand. The guide was escorting her out of the elevator. This left a rather confused looking tour group to exit on their own, including Will who looked more annoyed than confused. Chrism, on the other hand, seemed to find it amusing.
Skylee could feel the guide’s eyes upon her, even though his dark glasses concealed them. Her face flushed under his gaze, and the necklace hidden underneath her shirt grew hotter by the second. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could bear its heat. Anguished, she let out a small sigh.
Will’s mouth fell open and he formed a fist. For a second, Skylee thought he was going to punch the guide. But instead he stood frozen in place, staring loathingly at him with both fists still tightly clinched. All along, Chrism persisted in chattering to Will about their first time to bungee jump together.
Ann, who had exited the elevator behind them, was watching him closely. The anger on Will’s face seemed to spur her into action.
“Pardon me?” she said stepping between Will and the guide. “Where’s the best place to view the bungee jumping?”
The guide snapped into a professional sounding tone, “Okay…friends and family are welcome to watch from the viewing platform.”
Skylee glanced over at Will who was slowly shaking his head. Then a couple of young women, dressed in orange uniforms, began leading the spectators to the platform. Ann stood motionless and watched as they prepared for the bungee jump. Her eyebrows were strangely twisted and her lips pointed downward as she looked on
“Are you okay?” Skylee asked her. “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, after all you’ve bungee jumped yourself, plenty of times.”
“Yeah, mum, no worries. I‘ll make sure it’s safe,” Will added, without taking his eyes off the guide.
“I’m just being a mom, you know…mom’s always worry,” Ann replied then she slowly turned and walked to the viewing platform.
“Those of you who will be jumping tandem please stand to the right and the solo jumpers to the left,” said the guide as he motioned to each side.
Chrism and Will were among the first to be suited up for the jump. Will, who had bungee jumped dozens of times, looked as cool as a cucumber.
“Oh, Will I’m so scared,” Chrism said in a childish sounding voice.
Skylee turned her head and made a face. Just then, the guide began the countdown for their jump, her stepsister pleaded with Will to hold her until they leapt. Will complied, but his eyes were now focused on Skylee. Even as they plunged from the platform concern was written across his face.
One by one, the jumpers dived from the Sky Tower, some with squeals of delight, some with screams of terror, until Skylee alone remained. The necklace was so hot it was nearly unbearable. She considered removing it but feared she might lose it in the jump.
A shadow fell across the Sky Deck as the sun hid behind a cloud. The air grew still. It seemed that the entire world had gone oddly silent. Skylee looked across the decking in search of Ann who raised her hand in a funny half-wave. For a moment, Skylee had a weird feeling that Ann was warning her not to jump.
“Step over here, Skylee,” the guide said as his hand seized the back of her waist. “I’ll help you get ready.”
“Okay, thanks,” she said, watching him hook the bungee cord to her harness. “Wait…how do you know my name?”
Moving with lightning speed, he shoved her away and she stumbled backward until she was at the edge of the platform. She clung to the cord for balance. A glint of light caught her eye.
A knife. He pointed it at her and raised his other hand in a slow, deliberate motion, removing his dark glasses. No, how can this be? Skylee asked herself as she stared into his soulless black eyes. It’s him. The devil from the wedding had found her. Her visions were coming to life.
He slowly edged nearer, holding the knife between them. There was nowhere for Skylee to go but down and she wasn’t sure her bungee cord was completely secured.
“Please…don’t…who are you?” she asked, her mind racing. “Why are you doing this?”
“Give me the necklace,” he coldly demanded.
“I don’t have it,” she said, trying to sound convincing.
“It would be wise for you to hand it over.”
Skylee felt choked by fear. “Why are you—”
“Give it to me, NOW!” he shouted.
“I can’t it’s—it’s in my room,” she lied.
“No it isn’t!” he barked. “You’re wearing it!”
He rushed toward her, holding the cord in one hand and the knife in the other. Her feet were barely touching the edge of the platform. She struggled to peer around him hoping Will’s mom had seen she was in danger. Then a sickening realization hit her, Ann could only see him from behind. She couldn’t see that he was holding a knife. Gathering all her courage, she twisted and turned trying to release his grip on her.
“Be still,” he snarled through gritted teeth.
A scream rose from deep inside her, but it was quickly halted as he held the blade against her throat.
“If you don’t give it…to…me…I WILL TAKE IT!” he loudly growled.
Running the knife at an angle along her collar, he reached the chain of her necklace. Skylee felt the blade’s cold metal and gasped as it pricked her skin.
“Okay, okay you can have it. Just don’t…” she pleaded with him, but agonizing pain halted her words.
A burning sensation tormented her as the necklace slid across her chest. It eased slightly when he suspended it over her shirt, holding it by the chain with the tip of his blade. The corners of his mouth curved into a sinister grin and his black eyes sparkled as they fixed upon the amulet.
“At last, you’re mine,” he said, reaching for it.
The magnitude of his words triggered an overwhelming surge of willpower within Skylee. You’re not taking my father’s necklace, she thought. Using every ounce of strength she could muster, she pushed his arm away, throwing him off balance. She looked up and saw the necklace swinging back and forth on the blade. Then a silver flash crossed her vision as the knife came down and sliced her arm. She expected sharp pain, yet she felt nothing but cold numbness. There was only one way to escape him. Moving swiftly, she grabbed the necklace by its chain and stepped backward off the tower.
“NO!” he screamed, swinging the knife wildly.
For a brief second she felt as if she were hanging in midair. Then she watched in horror as he nicked her harness, severing partway through the fabric. His other hand was still gripping her bungee cord, which was now slipping through his fingers. It slashed a gash through his glove and deeper into his flesh, leaving a bright red streak. The last things she saw as she tumbled downward were his black eyes.
Skylee felt herself falling—falling—backward. Everything will be fine, the harness will hold, she told herself. When she reached the end of the cord it pulled taunt and sprung back. A feeling of relief swept over her. She had escaped the stranger and the necklace was still in her hand. Soon she would be safely on the ground. On her second trip downward she heard it.
The sliced harness had broken free. Skylee helplessly tumbled through the air watching the tower fly by. There was nothing she could do. The ground came rushing up at her.