KARRIN WARRIOR CHILD EXCERPTS
I’ve been working on the next Excalibur installment for over a year now. But, the end is finally in sight. Maybe 3 or 4 chapters and I’ll be done with my initial MS, then on to revisions and editing. Unlike The Revenge of Excalibur, this time I have the whole outline. The biggest challenge has been bringing the characters to life, adding dimesons to their personalities. Things Bob never thought about. He touched on some areas, but they needed to be more rounded.
As with the 2nd book, this one starts several decades in the future. I’m still thinking this will be two books as I’m starting chapter 43 and at 104k words. Below are the beginning paragraphs of the first twenty chapters. I hope you enjoy them. I still don’t have a clue what I want for a book cover. UGH!
For the readers that enjoy my Excalibur books, joy, joy, there is one more installment left. A story I don’t even remember reading. I’ve been itching to pick it out of the box and start reading it, but I won’t let myself until this one is done.
“And this one’s name?” a high, whinny voice demanded impatiently.
“Ah, it’s Karen Number 1685,” stammered a woman as she peered down at the reader in her hand. She licked her lips, glancing up at the woman who overshadowed her slight frame.
Sniffling, head bowed, the battered girl sat on a cold, metal slab, staring at her bare feet. She still didn’t understand why she was here. She peeked out between her mass of dark hair, peering at the tall, thin, coffee-colored Guard sitting across from her. She had a reader in one hand, with an electronic prod lying across her lap.
Karrin was jerked out of a fitful sleep with the clanging of the cell door, and a gruff voice. “Hey, Yol. You got yourself a roommate.”
Karrin slowly opened her eyes and saw an older girl with a shaved head. “Yes, Guard,” she quickly mumbled, as her brown eyes stared back at Karrin.
“Looks like you got the short straw, Yol,” the guard mocked. “Too bad for you.” With a mean laugh, she turned and proceeded down the corridor, banging her electric prod on the cell doors as she went.
The hulking, snarling woman wrapped her meaty hand around Karrin’s thin, upper arm, and started dragging her relentlessly down the hallway. Stumbling down a set of concrete stairs, the little girl’s sandal-clad feet skittered from step to step, as she tried preventing herself from tumbling to the floor. With each jolt and jar, it felt like her arm was being ripped out of the socket. She bit her lip, trying not to cry out in pain.
It was a refrigerated room, and Cook noticed Karrin shivering, with puffs of steam escaping between her chattering teeth. On the wall inside the door, were a rack of knives. Cook took one down, then proceeded to a blood-stained table in the middle of the room. She glared down at the girl. “From now one, till I say different, after you’re done with potatoes, and boiling the rice, this will be your job. Now, watch closely.”
When Cook stepped into the meat room, she stopped mid-stride, blinking in surprise. Her new helper was sitting at the table, peeling the skin off a dead rat. “What you doing, girl?”
“My job,” she said in a gravelly voice, not looking up, tugging at the skin until it came free from the body. “You said this was my job, Cook.”
Cook drug the protesting Kitty to her big table. She reached into her shirt pocket, removing a shiny key and unlocked the padlock from the bomb-collar. She hung it on the rack where other collars sat, waiting for new kitchen helpers.
Hands on hips, she scowled down at the whimpering Kitty. “You’ve been working in this kitchen for over a year, and I’m lucky if’n you’ve done a week’s worth of work. The only thing I’ve seen you do is diddle around with the helper boys when you think I’m not a looking. Since you like playing with the boys so much, you’ll get to do it on a permanent basis. You ain’t needed here no more.” Cook grabbed a fistful of the girl’s greasy, black hair and headed for the backdoor, Kitty screaming and spitting the whole way, trying to get loose from the iron grip on her hair.
On a planet named Ispepyein, located near the left eye of the constellation called Leo the Lion, Kargan sat in his massive stone throne, tapping his claws impatiently on the armrest. He lightly ran his fingertips over the numerous deep groves that he’d gouged into his chair over the years. He was about to add more if this Calen didn’t get to the point. He rued the day the wimpy, pale-skinned race ‘accidentally’ discovered their planet a dozen years ago. Thankfully, they hadn’t had much contact with them, since Ispepyeins were totally self-sufficient. But they were well-known, galaxy-wide, for services they rendered, for a hefty price. He assumed their services were what brought the Calen General here, if he ever quit stuttering and stammering.
Lurga braced himself against the pale blue tiled walls, hot water streaming down his back, where it gurgled into the drain between his gray, clawed feet. With a loud grunt, he punched the button, shutting off the water, then grabbed a towel and stepped out onto the cold stone floor. As he dried himself off, he caught his image in the reflecting window, then smiled. Ah, a few more scars to add o my growing collection, and to prove myself the greatest Ispepyein warrior of all time. He shook his head in disgust. Though, I would not consider my latest conquest of three thousand one hundred and six Grotons as much of a battle. Certainly, not worthy for the Greatest Ispepyein warrior. He signed in frustration. He hadn’t faced a worthy opponent in years, and Lurga was starting to think he never would.
Several weeks later, Claudia Giroux, formally known as Cook, stood in the front yard of her new home, located in the south end of what used to be called London. With squinted eyes, she took in the pale blue, two-storied, wooden-framed building. Buckingham Palace it wasn’t, but it had enough room for her and her two helpers to get lost in.
Running her thumb over the key to her new home, she glanced down at her helpers. It’s amazing how much they look alike. They almost look like twins. Each had short, dark hair, wore the same dresses, and dark-complected. From a distance, she could pick out Karrin by the half an inch in height she had over Tanya. Up close, Claudia had no problems, as it was the color of Karrin’s eyes that set her apart.
The small, silver fighter streaked thorough space as it hurtled toward a solar system containing eight planets orbiting a sun much smaller than the one in Ispepyein’s system. Contruda slowed their descent when the data banks alerted it that the bright, blue planet was their destination. Earth. Making a slow reconnaissance around Earth, Contruda then ordered the fighter to the dark side of the moon which circled this insignificant planet. They would hide here until the warrior awoke.
Slick stood on the porch, binoculars in one hand, a walkie in the other. According to his sources, a strange, possibly deadly man, was heading their way, looking for little Karrin. Eyewitnesses told him the man was either drunk or high, as he staggered down the street. But no one wanted to mess with him.
Slick raised the glasses to his eyes, training on the spot where the man would be turning onto Wilburn Street, about a mile from Mama’s house. He shifted nervously around, straining to see any type of movement. He’d be damned if something happened to Mama’s little girl. He just hoped all his preparations would work. From what he’d been told, he wasn’t so sure.
The sound of pounding feet and splashing water bounced off the walls of the dimly lit sewer tunnel. Clutching Karrin tightly to his chest, Slick leapt over a rat as big as a cat, then came to a skidding halt at an intersecting tunnel. Lungs heaving, he leaned his back against the slime covered wall, trying to catch his breath. Damn, Mrs. C was right. He needed to lay off the cigs. And the rank, foul air didn’t help matters any. Even though he’d spent most of his life in the sewers, he still wasn’t used to the rotten egg smell. His nose wrinkled in disgust.
Lurga was fuming, his fingers twitching where they lay resting on the butt of his pistols. Even though he looked as thin-skinned as these Earthlings, beings that could be squished as easily as a bug, it was all an illusion. Underneath, he still wore the armor-plated skin of an Ispepyein Warrior, impenetrable to any of the puny weapons these Earthlings had. As more bullets bounced off his skin, and another blast of the cannon threw him to the ground, he rolled over, coughing. The dust clogged his throat and nose, making it hard to breathe.
Stepping out into the garage, Lurga peered around the packed room, until he found the door leading to the west. Striding toward the doorway, he clicked a button on his hand-link. Every living thing left an electromagnetic footprint. He’d just keyed his hand-link to follow the signature paths that had recently fled this way. Two strong fields lit up, while a third one was weaker, like it was being shielded. With a satisfied growl, he took off out the door, following the trail. Will they be devious and try hiding their trail? He hoped so, as he was looking forward to a good hunt.
Ten miles away, B.J. sat in a chair, head and hands hanging between his knees, gasping for breath. He hadn’t run for quite a few years and had to slow down to a fast walk for the last several miles before reaching tunnel 60 and the entrance to the file room of Scotland Yard. He raised his head, wiping the sweat from his brow when a cup of coffee was shoved in front of his face. He stared at the hot, steaming coffee. What he really wanted was ale. Lots of ale. He waved off the offered beverage.
Karrin’s eyes fluttered a few times, then she tried opening them, but they were glued shut, like she’d been sleeping for days instead of hours. She rubbed them, trying to get rid of the gritty feeling. She blinked several times, starting to panic. Everything was dim and blurry. Then she noticed a flicker of light off on her left side. Turning her head she saw a fire burning away, but the color of the flames didn’t look right. They were blue/green instead of the yellow/orange she was used to. She sat up, a thin silver blanket falling from her shoulders to puddle in her lap. She noticed she was lying on another silver blanket, but it was larger and padded for comfort. Lots better than the cot she was used to sleeping in at the Home.
Lurga bit off the head of a flapping fish, enjoying the crunching of bones as he chewed. Over the five years since he came to Switch with Karrin, he’d become accustomed to eating cooked meat, especially while in his Human form, but he still relished the taste of salty, warm blood from a fresh kill.
At the sound of approaching footsteps, he turned to see Karrin striding toward him. A wide grin split her face as she held up the blue-furred ‘rabbits’ she’d caught that morning in her snares. He shook his head. Poor child. Over the past several months, two small bumps started forming on her chest, making her even more unappealing to look at.
‘Ispepyein calling Warrior Lurga Pukani. Respond to the mate of your leader.’ Even though Karrin couldn’t read a word of Ispepyein, she understood every word as Lurga read the message.
“My sister, Zelka,” Lurga explained.
Karrin looked at him in surprise. She didn’t even know the Warrior had a sister. It had taken her several months getting used to living on Switch and being around Lurga. But once she did, her curiosity got the better of her and she tried asking questions about his life. His answer was always an icy glare and a snapping of his teeth. She learned early what questions not to ask. Now, she just discovered he had a sister. Is she younger or older? Did he leave his own mate behind when he accepted Mama’s blood bond? Maybe he even has children. A feeling of guilt overcame her.
“You have to answer her, then. She’s your sister,” Karrin insisted.
As Lurga guided his silver fighter to the Leader’s Palace, Karrin thought about her situation. Other than Lurga, she hadn’t seen another living being in five years. She’d really had no time to be lonely as he kept her busy with survival and battle training. But now she started getting nervous, thinking about their differences. She softly stroked the fine hairs on her arm, then pinched her pale, thin skin. His skin was gray, thick, hairless, and felt like sandpaper. She lightly ran her fingertips across her lips, making her shiver. They were soft and pliant, and her teeth were a single row of rounded stubs. Not good at all for tearing and rendering your food.
She still remembered him telling her how ugly she looked to him when they first arrived on Switch. Every time she saw her reflection in the water, she thought she looked uglier and uglier. She signed. Does he still think I’m unpleasant to look at? For some reason, it bothered her if he did. Will his people see me the same way?
Let me know what you think in the comments. Are these excerpts tantalizing enough to make you want to read more? There is no sex in this book, but it is very dark in nature.