Read a sample : The Beginning of the End
On this page you can read the first Chapter of my fourth Sci-Fi book “The Beginning of the End”, available on Amazon kindle. If you like it, please don't hesitate to share via the social media buttons at the bottom of the page.
SPOILER ALERT! If you haven't read the previous books, reading this sample can spoil some of the story line, which I don't recommend.
Artwork by Christian Kallias
Chase’s eyes widened and he stopped dead in his tracks.
“What do you mean our home world?”
“You see, Olympians think of themselves as too evolved to exterminate an entire civilization. So thousands of years ago, at the height of the first Fury war, they devised a plan to remove us from the equation by trapping Erevos in another dimension outside of space and time itself, instead of destroying us all. That mistake will be their undoing, and today you’ve helped me correct this. Now that my fellow Furies are back, we’ll conquer this universe that was always meant to be ours.”
The weight behind Argos’ words and the realization of what had just happened hit Chase’s psyche with the force of ten thousand quadrinium bombs. What had he done? A million questions, images and fears rushed through his mind, overwhelming all his senses and paralyzing him to the core.
“What?” was all he could muster.
“You have a choice to make, Laiyos. You’re either with us, your own people, or against us. I’m willing to put aside our differences if you’re willing to rejoin your brethren. You belong with us. Deep within your heart you must know this. This is a one-time offer, though. If you leave here now, you’ll forever be our enemy. So choose wisely, brother.”
Darkness enveloped Chase. The shroud of pain and revenge that had cloaked him was obliterated, almost instantly, by a weight simply too heavy to bear. It had been incredibly difficult just to battle Argos, a single Fury. And only his rage and thirst for revenge had given him the abilities required to defeat him. How was he supposed to take on an entire planet of Furies? What if there were even stronger Furies than his brother? How would he defeat them?
What have I done?
Then everything turned black and Chase stood in cold darkness. Ares appeared in front of him in his old corporeal form.
“You must have known that Argos had something like this planned.”
“I . . . I knew he had to be working on something big, but . . . I . . . never . . .”
“You never thought you’d help him unleash the worst scourge this universe has ever known?”
“I . . . What? This cannot be,” muttered Chase.
“Get a grip, Chase! You need to shake the fear you’re feeling now before it eats you alive. Even if it was never your intention, your actions make you responsible for all of this. So now you need to fix it, one way or the other, and no matter the cost.”
Chase’s face turned livid.
“Fix it? How can I defeat a planet of Furies on my own?”
“You can’t. But who said you were alone?”
“I don’t follow.”
“Have you forgotten your friends, your allies, those you know about as well as those you may find along the way?”
“What can they do against this new threat? I have doomed the universe in my quest to save Sarah.”
“No! Only if you believe that will it become true. And don’t you dare forget the promise you just made to my sister Aphroditis before letting your monster of a brother trap her in that life-sucking contraption. She and the rest of us are counting on you.”
“I . . . I don’t know that I have it in me.”
“Unacceptable, Chase. And let’s look at the alternative for a second. Do you want to join your brother and follow in his footsteps? Is that what you’re telling me?”
Chase looked down.
“Look at me when I’m talking to you!” shouted Ares with all his might.
But right now Chase simply couldn’t face his mentor and friend.
“Sarah . . .” was the only word that escaped his mouth.
“It’s bigger than her. It always has been, Chase. You must have known it. At least on some level.”
Tears formed at the corners of Chase’s eyes as he finally mustered enough courage to glance at Ares’ ice-cold eyes.
“I never imagined it could be something so dark.”
“Forget about how dark or insurmountable it may seem to you at the moment. For the time being you must only answer one question.”
“Will you keep your promises and fight with all your might to make sure this universe isn’t destroyed by Argos and the Furies? Or will you let your fears consume you? And doom us all . . .”
Chase reflected upon Ares’ words. He was way beyond fear at this point. Terror engulfed him from within, paralyzing and freezing him. He felt helpless, terrified and lost all at once. What was he to do?
That was when he heard her voice echo in his mind.
“I believe in you, Chase.” It was Aphroditis’ voice, the last glimmer of light within his quickly blackening soul.
Ares took a step forward. “Listen to her. You can do it, Chase. I know you can!”
Chase’s heart pounded so hard within his chest that he feared it would escape from his ribcage.
Ares put his hand on Chase’s shoulder.
“I’ll always be here for you. We’ll keep training, and you have all your wonderful friends too. They’ve just proved to you that they’ll go to the end of the world to help you in your quest. And now you also have Sarah and your unborn child by your side. You must make sure you build the world you want them to live in. A world where your child can grow up in peace.”
That sent a cascade of electrifying shivers throughout Chase’s body, each stronger than the next. Ares was right. No matter how grim the situation felt right this moment, cowering in fear and letting darkness get the better of him was not the answer.
A glimpse of strength and determination re-infused Chase’s eyes.
Ares smiled. “You can do it. She believes in you, and so do I.”
“I sure hope you’re right.”
“It’s no longer a question of being wrong or right, Chase.”
“What do you mean?”
“Follow your heart. Do what you know you must, deep inside your soul, with every fiber of your being. Fight this new threat, and remember . . . you are not alone. You never were. You must release that burden from your soul now and unleash your full power.”
“Easier said than done.”
“And yet I feel it happening within you, building up already. You know what you need to do, deep down, past fears and the terror that’s trying to get the best of you by trying to bring darkness to the core of your soul. I see that brightening light shining through the dark shroud of doubt.”
“I barely feel it, and it’s so small.”
“Make it bigger.”
“Just like you did with your energy pool. Focus and make it bigger. Let that light shine upon you. Let it make you stronger than ever before.”
“I don’t know that I can.”
“Chase! Close your eyes and make it bigger, now!”
Chase didn’t really know what to do, but he had grown accustomed to trusting Ares, so he obeyed. He closed his eyes and reached deep down, within the very core of his soul where the light still shined.
“Now, make it bigger.”
The mental image he was facing was terrifying. Dark, red clouds in motion around a small glimmer of light, shining through the darkness, with bright-red lightning striking at the light, trying to shut it out of existence. He pushed with all his might but the darkness was growing and the light dimming.
“Chase, if you fail now, this is the end. For us all.”
“I’m not strong enough!”
“Yes you are. Your fears are yours alone. You must defeat the darkness within yourself. Only you can do that, Chase.”
“I don’t know how.”
“Yes you do! Do you remember the vision-dream you had when you took the Kyrian snake venom?”
“It was just a dream. This is real.”
“You make it real! We all make the world we live in real. It’s your thoughts, intentions and actions that shape the universe. So ask yourself what you want? Now open your eyes, Chase.”
When Chase opened his eyes he was standing on Earth. It had been destroyed. Cities had been leveled. Fires were burning everywhere in the landscape. That was when he saw them, far away, running towards him. Sarah and a young Chris, running away from the dark shadows chasing after them.
“What is this?”
“This is what will happen if you let the darkness within you win this fight. Forget the Furies; forget Argos. Right in this moment you’re fighting your worst enemy, Chase: yourself.”
Sarah grabbed Chris into her arms and ran towards him. She looked terrified. The indistinct shadows pursuing them took human form. There were no less than five Furies pursuing them.
His heart pounded even stronger in his torso, each beat like an earthquake as time seemed to slow down.
“What do I do?”
“You save her. You save Chris. In doing so you’ll save everyone else.”
Chase made fists and closed his eyes. He wanted to run towards them but it felt as if a dark fog kept him locked in place.
“Chase, remember . . . this battle is inside of you.”
“This is just a vision. I’m gonna wake up.”
“Be that as it may, the state in which you wake up from this vision will determine what’s coming next.”
A shriek resonated in the air and compelled Chase to open his eyes.
Sarah was hit by a dark-red fireball that threw her and Chris down. She had lost consciousness and all that Chase could hear was his young son cry as the Furies approached them both. Chris tried to shake his mother back into consciousness as tears flowed like rivers from his eyes.
“Dad! Help us!”
A thunderbolt hit Chase to the core and rage boiled within his very soul. In just a few seconds, the Furies would kill Sarah and Chris before his eyes. He had to act now!
Chase closed his eyes and unleashed an unearthly, animalistic roar that shook the entire planet and shattered the ground all around. When he opened his eyes again he saw that he had given the Furies pause. They now looked at him.
“Who are you?” asked one of them.
“Your doom. Step away from them and fight someone your own size, you pathetic cowards.”
More energy flowed through Chase’s body than ever before. Even more than when he had faced Argos. The purple aura emanating from him grew stronger, and soon his purple light was being cast all around them. Bright-white lightning bolts danced around Chase’s body as his aura kept growing beyond reason.
The five furies took a fighting stance and grew fireballs in their hands. Their eyes glowed bright red.
Chase took one step from his position and teleported almost in front of them. They reacted instantly, repositioning themselves around him. They lost no time attacking him from every direction. Five fireballs came at him simultaneously.
“No,” said Chase with renewed confidence.
The Furies’ attacks stopped mere inches from his body before collapsing on themselves.
A bright, white aura shot from the ground and engulfed Chase. Five lightning bolts fired from his body, each striking a Fury and sending it flying backwards in the air.
The column of white light rose higher in the sky and soon hit the thick, dark layer of ominous clouds above. It punched through them to let the warm light of the sun shine throughout the valley. Fires around them extinguished and buildings started rebuilding, as if time was playing in reverse.
Chase sprang into action.
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Chase launched himself at his first opponent and struck him so hard with his knee that he heard every bone in his torso crack. Dark, red blood shot from his mouth and death was instantaneous. While still in midair Chase performed a spinning kick that decapitated a second Fury, sending his head flying at tremendous speed towards the heavens.
The third Fury, horrified by what he had just witnessed, tried to hit Chase with a powerful blow to the head. Chase dodged his attack in midair and grabbed his arm. In a swift motion he snatched the limb from its socket as more Fury blood flew in the air. The Fury shrieked in agony and dropped to the ground, holding his limbless shoulder in a futile attempt to slow down the spraying of his blood. Chase landed in front of him and threw his opponent’s detached arm away with an uncharacteristic smirk.
He lost no time sending the wounded Fury flying with a powerful uppercut. The impact with the Fury’s jaw unleashed a powerful shockwave that sent the remaining two Furies skidding backwards for yards. The third Fury flew so high in the sky that he disappeared into the growing sunlight, which shined brighter and brighter upon Chase.
Chase felt an energy like no other fill his entire body. His muscles doubled in size under the pressure of the overwhelming energy building within him. His upper, black body armor ripped to reveal inhuman musculature, big, throbbing veins, pumping not only blood but Chase’s life force throughout his body.
He then turned his attention to the remaining two Furies. In a fluid motion Chase thrust both his hands towards them and unleashed two white columns of energy. They hit their targets at the same time and impaled them both, punching through their ribcages.
When their bodies hit the now fully sunlit and warm ground, their lives had already been claimed.
Chase had dispatched five Furies in the blink of an eye. Sarah and Chris were nowhere to be seen, and his eyes now showed him a very different landscape. An unscathed image of planet Earth, with the sun shining bright and high in the now cloudless sky.
Ares appeared out of thin air.
“What happened? What does this vision mean?”
“It was brought on by your inner fears. I don’t really know why it happened. Perhaps your proximity to Aphroditis triggered it. Nonetheless it was important.”
“Your fears were about to eat you alive. By fighting and defeating your enemies in this vision, you have lifted a large part of the weight that was crushing your soul.”
“I do indeed feel less scared at the moment . . . Confident, even, that we will find a way to fight them.”
“I also feel this when I look at you now. But this was just a flash reaction from your own psyche. You haven’t defeated every one of your inner demons just yet, but you clearly bought yourself some time to work on it.”
Chase reflected on his mentor’s words.
“I’ve never felt so powerful, though.”
“Good. Let’s hope that means you haven’t yet unlocked your full potential.”
Chase nodded as Ares’ corporeal image disappeared from his sight.
“I’m still waiting for an answer, Laiyos!”
That was Argos, his voice resonating within the vison’s landscape.
Chase’s view morphed back into the interior of his twin brother’s ship and soon he was back in reality.
Chase looked at Argos and smiled.
“Why are you grinning like an idiot? What’s your answer?”
“Do you really have to ask, Argos? I will never join the Furies.”
“Then you have signed your own death warrant.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure.”
Chase looked at Sarah, who was clearly still in shock at what had unfolded here in the last few minutes. She looked confused and probably wondered if any of this was real.
Chase also felt as though everything that had happened lately was somewhat surreal. But, for the first time in months, he was now painfully aware of where he stood. The full depth of the consequences of his actions were now crystal clear in his mind. He had let anger, hate and revenge cloud his judgment. But if he had to do it all over again, he would. Sarah simply meant too much to him. He didn’t see the point of living without her by his side.
He would have to find a way to make things right with Aphroditis and with his friends, and deal with Argos and the Furies once and for all. Part of him felt that what had just transpired was unavoidable anyway.
Perhaps this was part of my destiny all along.
Chase took Sarah’s hand and she looked at him with mixed emotions. She might never look upon him the same as she once did.
“Let’s go home.”
She nodded as tears flowed from her eyes.
“You’re a fool, Laiyos! You will regret this decision,” spat Argos as he looked with disdain at his departing brother.
Chase turned to look into his twin brother’s eyes.
“My name is Chase. You’re the fool and, mark my words, you’ll regret ever putting me in this position. I don’t think you fully realize what you’ve just done. I have a feeling you will though, and soon.”
The fire in Argos’ eyes burned as a vein throbbed in his temple.
“The next time we meet . . .” began Argos, but he let the words hang in the air.
Chase remembered what Ares had told him before, that he had felt a great deal of fear within Argos, buried deep down. At this moment, and for the first time outside of combat, Chase also felt that fear in him.
“You’d better pray our paths never cross again. We have unresolved business to deal with. I no longer care if this happens tomorrow or later in the future. But one way or the other, we have a score to settle, you and I. So long, Argos.”
Argos didn’t answer, but Chase could still smell fear in the air as he left the Zarlack ship with Sarah by his side.
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