Watch the crazy authors as they try to explain.
Read an excerpt from
The Primortus Chronicles
Skylee crept into the room, carefully avoiding the open suitcases, shoeboxes and clothing scattered on the floor. Dressing for the wedding had created quite a mess. She had wanted to clean it up, but her almost stepsister insisted that her father had hired people to do such things.
As she approached the package, her pulse raced. Skylee normally opened a present slowly and carefully like a doctor performing surgery, but her excitement made her eagerly tear through the wrapping.
Inside, cushioned on a bed of crumpled paper, was a brown leather book bound with four gold rings. A diamond shape was carved into the front cover. She held the book close to her heart realizing that it could be her father’s journal, a look into his soul. Turning it over, she examined it more closely and tried to imagine him holding it in his hands. Despite her feeling of excitement, a deep sadness washed over her.
Skylee reached up and pushed back the heavy curtains, flooding the room with sunlight. As she opened the book, a musty odor filled the room even though the cover looked new. She thumbed through the crisp white pages to find page after page of strange hand written lettering, which appeared to be an ancient language. Skylee squinted at the lettering and tried to make out the words.
Holding the book closer to her face, she decided it was a language she had never seen before. Her heart sank in disappointment. It wasn’t her father’s journal. Why…she wondered…why did my dad want me to have a book that I can’t read? She softly placed it on the table and sighed. Then her gaze returned to the package. Maybe there was something else…something that would explain it to her.
She ran her fingers through the crumpled paper and found a smaller box. Her eyes widened as she opened it and peered inside. The box held a beautiful necklace, which appeared to be very old. Upon closer inspection, she realized its dark gray metal shone like new, reflecting tiny flecks of blue. She had never seen a lovelier amulet. Her eyes moved back and forth from the necklace to the carving on the book. They were exactly the same size and shape.
Plucking the necklace from the box, she held it up by its long silvery chain. The medieval looking amulet swayed and sparkled in the light as if it were covered in diamonds. Its circular center was divided into four quadrants, each one with a distinct etching. She brushed her fingers across the symbols wondering what they meant, and then she turned the amulet over. On the back were more etchings. One looked like an inscription and the other was an odd symbol. They appeared to be in the same language as the lettering in the book.
Skylee didn’t know what to make of it, yet she had a strong urge to put on the necklace. Draping it over her head, she crossed the room and stood at the full-length mirror. Her blue eyes narrowed as she frowned at her reflection. She had tried to tame her wavy blonde hair into some kind of twist, securing it at the crown of her head in an attempt to look more mature. Now she wondered if it only accentuated her most embarrassing feature her protruding ears. She brushed an unruly curl away from her face and examined her pale complexion. Maybe the extra makeup was too much. She usually only wore a little mascara and tinted lip-gloss. She shrugged and made a face at herself in the mirror. Then her eyes settled on the sparkling necklace, which was resting on the soft green fabric of her dress.
“So, this is my inheritance,” she said, holding it up.
She curiously gazed at it and, to her surprise, white crystals were forming on its surface. Suddenly a sharp pain seared her fingers and she quickly let go, leaving it dangling from the chain around her neck. The amulet was as cold as ice. Confusion overwhelmed her. Her heart pounded loudly under the freezing metal. She took a deep breath and tried to calm down. But as if being driven by some force that she could not understand, Skylee walked to the book. She removed the amulet and, with icy cold fingers, placed it into the diamond shaped carving.
A brilliant glow grew from the heart of it, intensifying in brightness until its radiance held her gaze. Then without warning a jolt of energy surged through her fingers. She shrieked and tried to pull away from the book, but her hand wouldn’t budge. It was like a
heavy weight was holding it there. She yanked and tugged to free herself, but it was no use.
As she stood rooted in place, the air grew colder. Tiny clouds of white fog floated before her with each quivering breath. In astonishment, she watched as the brilliant light traveled up her arm, making its way to her chest. A tingling sensation spread across her body as if something inside her was struggling to get out.
Gasping for air, she looked down to see a whirling orb of light positioned directly above her heart. Like a bolt of lightning, energy poured through her veins and flooded her entire body. Then the orb burst forth with a column of light, which returned to the necklace still in her frozen grasp atop the book.
Skylee felt as if she were spinning around very fast. It seemed to go on forever. Then, at last, she felt herself coming to a halt. There was a prickling sensation as if dozens of sharp needles were piercing her hand. She carefully released her hold on the necklace and lifted her tingling fingers away from the book. Then, like fireflies flickering in and out, the light faded away.
Unable to look away, she held her breath as she opened the book. Shimmering words appeared on the once unreadable pages as if an unseen hand was translating a secret message. Skylee blinked wildly and shook her head in disbelief as she tried to focus on the page. More words, words she could read, materialized before her eyes. In one swift motion, she gasped, slammed the book shut, and fell back against the couch.
With her eyes shut tight, she could hear her pulse pounding in her ears. Slowly she lifted her eyelids and peeked at the book. She wasn’t sure how it was possible but it seemed to be breathing. Gripped by both fear and curiosity, she edged closer. But the book had changed. Only seconds before its leather had been new and its pages had looked crisp and white, now the edges were worn and the pages were yellowed with age.
“This can’t be happening,” she repeated till she stood in front of the book. With trembling fingers, she opened it and again the shimmering words appeared.
“It has begun…he shall not wait
to bring about a lifeless fate.”
She read the phrase over and over until her head was spinning. Then she cautiously backed away from the book and stood near the door.
There was a long moment of silence, which was broken by a faint high-pitched sound. Someone was whistling a familiar tune, like a child’s nursery rhyme. The slow dissonant melody sent a chill down her spine.
Suddenly a dark movement caught her eye, and the whistling fell silent. A man was standing there, at the window, his eerie silhouette backlit by the bright sunlight. Skylee’s pulse pounded in her throat. She huddled in the dimly lit corner, hoping she was hidden from view. Goosebumps covered her arms as a sinister creak filled the room, and the window swung open. She blinked and tried to focus her eyes.
He was tall, with black hair, and was dressed in a dark blue uniform. His face was so smooth it looked like a mask. The sunlight tinted his high cheekbones slightly yellow, but it was his black eyes that really scared her. They were like dark holes in his face.
The room was deathly quiet. Skylee stood motionless trying not to breathe, as sweat dampened her clothing. The man peered through the open window. He seemed to be scanning the area in search of something, until his eyes stopped at the open book.
“It’s true…it still exists,” he said as he effortlessly climbed over the windowsill.
His swift movement into the room made her let out an involuntary gasp. He froze, then spun around and peered into the corner. The moment he saw her, a low menacing snarl rose from his throat. Terror, greater than she had ever known, swept over her. She felt paralyzed as she stared into his eyes…blue into utter blackness.
Her eyes widened. She was unsure who had called her name. A sharp knock at the door caused her to jump. In an instant, the dark stranger turned and bolted through the window, which slammed shut behind him.
“Skylee, can you come and help your stepsister?” hollered Chloe from behind the door.
Exhaling in relief, Skylee staggered forward on trembling legs and collapsed onto the couch.
“Oh, yes, I…I’m coming,” she called out breathlessly.
She leaned forward and covered her face with her hands to calm herself, but the memory of the man’s black eyes were imprinted on her brain. With adrenaline still pumping through her veins, she struggled to regain her composure.
After several minutes her eyes returned to the window. It seemed to have opened and closed without him ever touching it. She stood, hesitated, and then walked toward it, carefully running her hands around its edges in search of wires. Nothing. As she nervously looked around, she latched the window and checked to be sure that it was locked. She drew closer to the glass and then quickly moved back in fear of his return. Who was he? Was he going to take the book?
“I’d better hide it,” she said under her breath. “But, where?”
Skylee explored the room looking for a hiding place. Inside a supply closet, she found a set of filing cabinets. She slipped the book into a file drawer under a stack of papers, then returned to the empty box and replaced the lid. The box shifted revealing an envelope underneath addressed to Skylee, from Mom.
She snatched up the envelope and turned to leave the room, but something stopped her in her tracks. She spun around and, against her better judgment, returned to the book. She reached out for the amulet, which was still tucked in the cover.
“Ouch,” she gasped, swiftly pulling back her hand and waving her fingers through the air.
It was hot. She stared intently at it. It defied all logic. She couldn’t believe it had gone from freezing cold to burning hot in mere minutes. How? And more importantly, why?