The First Book of The Earth Revolution
Lucius Dante Maximillian Keeva thought of himself as a monster, until he emerged from solitary confinement into a world far more monstrous than anything he could imagine, and finds himself becoming, against his best judgment the protector of the weak and the oppressed.
Carry Me To the Water
The world celebrates great prison breaks. The French territories still commemorate the day in which the dreaded Bastille burst open before the righteous fury of the peasantry and disgorged into the light of day the innocent, the aggrieved, the tortured and the oppressed.
They forget that every time a prison is opened, it also disgorges, amid the righteous and innocent, the con artists, the rapists, the murderers and the monsters.
Monsters like me.
Athena Hera Sinistra never wanted to go to space. Now, Space will never be the same!
I never wanted to go to space. Never wanted see the eerie glow of the Powerpods. Never wanted to visit Circum Terra. Never had any interest in finding out the truth about the DarkShips. You always get what you don’t ask for.
Which was why I woke up in the dark of shipnight, within the greater night of space in my father’s space cruiser.
Before full consciousness, I knew there was an intruder in my cabin. Not rationally. There was no rationality to it. The air smelled as it always did on shipboard, as it had for the week I’d spent here – stale, with that odd tang given by the recycling.
The engines, below me, hummed steadily, propelling us from Circum Terra, which we’d left hours ago and towards a-week-distant Earth.
My head felt a little light, my stomach a little queasy, from the artificial grav. Yes, I know. Scientists say that’s impossible. They say artificial gravity is just like true gravity to the senses. You don’t feel a thing. They are wrong. Artificial grav always made me feel a little out of balance, like a couple of shots of whiskey on an empty stomach.
Even before waking fully, I’d tallied all this. There was nothing out of the ordinary. And yet there was a stranger in my cabin.
It never occurred to me to doubt it. Years in reformatories, boarding schools and mental hospitals, had taught me that the feeling I woke up with was often the right one. I assumed I’d heard something while asleep – a door closing, a step on the polished floor.
It didn’t matter. There was someone in my cabin. Now, why? Knowing the why determined how I dealt with it.
There were three reasons that came to mind immediately. Theft, rape, murder. But all of them were impossible. The space cruiser belonged to Daddy dearest and there was no one aboard save Daddy dearest, my charming self – his only daughter – and his handpicked crew of about twenty, half of whom were his bodyguard goons and half maintenance-crew of one description or another. Far more than I thought it would take to run a ship this size, but then what did I know about ships?
Now, whatever I thought of my father, the Honorable Patrician Alexander Milton Sinistra of the ruling council of Earth, I neither thought him stupid nor stupidly inclined to think the best of people. His goons were the scum of the Earth – only because there were no real populations on any other planet – but they were picked, trained, conditioned and, for all I knew, mind-controlled for loyalty. (Continue reading) (Buy the book)
In a small town in Colorado, two young people are trying to survive. That one of them turns into a panther and the other into a dragon is a complication.
The July night sprawled, warm and deep blue over Goldport, Colorado. In the distance the mountains were little more than suspicions of deeper darkness, a jagged outline where no stars appeared.
Most of Goldport was equally dark, from its slumbering suburbs to the blind silence of its downtown shops. Only the streetlights shone, at intervals, piercing the velvet blackness like so many stars.
At the edge of the western suburbs that climbed—square block after square block—into the lower slopes of the Rockies, the neon sign outside a Chinese restaurant flickered. Three Luck Dragon flared, faded, then flared again, and finally turned off completely.
A hand with nails that were, perhaps, just a little too long turned over a sign that hung on the window, so that the word “closed” faced the parking lot.
After a while, a sound broke the silence. A flapping, noise, as though of sheets unfurling in the silent night. Or perhaps of large wings beating.
Had anyone been awake, he’d have seen a large, dark creature—serpentine and thin—with vast unfolding wings descend from the night sky till his huge taloned feet met the asphalt. He closed his wings about himself and waited.
He did not wait long. From alleys and darkened streets, people emerged: teenagers, in tight jeans and T-shirts, looking nervous, sidling out of the shadows, glancing over their shoulders as if afraid of being followed. From yet other alleys . . . creatures emerged: long, sinuous, in moist glistening colors between green and blue. They slid, monstrous heads low to the ground, curved fangs like daggers unsheathed in the moonlight. And sometimes dragons seemed to shift to naked teenagers and back again. In and out of the shadows, knit with walls and garbage bins, slithering along the hot cement of the pavements came young men who were dragons and dragons who were nervous young men.
They gathered in front of the Great Sky Dragon. And waited.
At length the dragon spoke, in a voice like pearls rolling upon old gold. “Where is it?” he asked. “Did you get it back?”
The amorphous crowd of humans and dragons moved. There was the impression of someone pushed forward. A rustle of cloth and wings. A murmur of speech.
The young man pushed forward was slender, though there was a suggestion of muscles beneath his leg-molding jeans and of a substantial chest straining the fabric of the white T-shirt. His bare arm displayed a tattoo of a large, green, glistening dragon and his eyes had an Asian fold, though it was clear from his light brown hair, his pale skin that he was not wholly Asian.
He was, however, completely scared. He stood trembling in front of the monster, who brought a vast golden eye to fix on him. “Yesss?” The dragon said. “You have something to report? You’ve found the Pearl of Heaven?”
The young man shook his head, his straight, lank hair swinging from side to side.
“No?” the dragon asked. Light glimmered on his fangs as he spoke, and his golden eye came very close to the boy, as if to examine him better.
“It wasn’t there,” the youth said, rapidly, his English not so much accented as retaining the lilt of someone who’d grown up in a community full of Chinese speakers. “We looked all over his apartment. It wasn’t there.”
The golden eye blinked, vein-laced green skin obstructing it for just a moment. Then the huge head pulled back a little and tilted. “We do not,” it said, fangs glimmering, “tolerate failure.”
It darted forward, so quickly the movement seemed to leave a green trail in the air like an afterimage. The fangs glistened. A delicate tongue came forth.
The boy’s scream echoed a second too late, like bad special effects. It still hung in air as the youth, feet and hands flailing, was lifted high into the night by the great dragon head.
A crunching sound. A brief glimmer. Two halves of the boy tumbling, in a shower of blood, toward the parking lot.
A scurry of cloth and wings followed, as men and dragons scrambled away.
The great golden eyes turned to them. The green muzzle was stained red. “We do not tolerate failure,” it said. “Find the Pearl of Heaven. Kill the thief.”
It opened its wings and, still looking intently at the crowd, flapped their great green length, till it rose into the dark, dark sky.
In the parking lot below no one moved till the last vestiges of the sinuous green and gold body had disappeared from view.
Kyrie was worried about Tom. Which was strange, because Tom was not one of her friends. Nor would she have thought she could care less if he stopped showing up at work altogether.
But now he was late and she was worried. . . .
She tapped her foot impatiently, both at his lateness and her worry, as she stared out at the window of the Athens, the Greek diner on Fairfax Avenue where she’d worked for the last year. Her wavy hair, dyed in multicolored layers, gave the effect of a tapestry. It went well with her honey-dark skin, her exotic features, and the bright red feather earring dangling from her ear, but it looked oddly out of place with the much-washed full-length red apron with “Athens” blazoned in green across the chest.
Outside everything appeared normal—the winding serpentine road between tall brick buildings, the darkened facade of the used CD store across the street, the occasional lone passing car.
She looked away, disgusted, from the windows splashed with bright, hand-scrawled advertisements for specials—souvlaki and fries—$3.99, clam chowder—99¢, Fresh Rice Pudding—and at the large plastic clock high on the wall.
Midnight. And Tom should have come in at nine. Tom had never been late before. Oh, she’d had her doubts when Frank hired the young street tough with the unkempt dark curls, the leather jacket and boots, and the track marks up both of his arms, clear as day. But he had always come in on time, and he was polite to the customers, and he never seemed to be out of it. Not during work time.
“Kyrie,” Frank said, from behind her. Kyrie turned to see him, behind the counter—a short, dark, middle-aged man, who looked Greek but seemed to be a mix of Italian and French and Greek and whatever else had fallen in the melting pot. He was testy today. The woman he’d been dating—or at least was sweet on, as she often walked with him to work, or after work—hadn’t come in.