Archive for the ‘Serial Stories’ Category

What? It’s back?

Yes, that’s right! Part 4 of the Fan-Voted Story is back with a vengeance.

Unfortunately, no one voted last time, so I continued on my own. So, if you want to help shape the story about what is going to happen to Kayla, please vote down below. If you like someone’s suggestion, like it! I’ll choose the highest voted suggestion or, if there isn’t one, the suggestion that I like best.

If you want to catch up with the story, please go to the Evan Elias section of the Living Author’s Society page.

Back to the action!

(more…)

Advertisements

Hello everybody!

It’s been a long time coming but Part 3 of my Fan Voted Story is here!

The winning suggestion from last time was made by Mandibelle16. Thank you for the suggestion that the ring was dark magic and there were consequences for using it.

If you need to catch up on the story, feel free to go back on the Evan Elias section of the Living Author’s Society page. While you’re at it, feel free to check some of the other authors as well, they’re very talented.

As always, please comment down below about what you think should happen and what you thought. The winning comment will dictate where the story goes from here!

Now, without further ado, let the story continue…

(more…)

photo-20160911080614556

The jewel gave off a deep purple glow that seemed to consume the entire cavern. It played across the curving rock walls, the twisting tunnels, and the large, almost ape-like statue, carved into the stone. Celeste’s heart beat in her chest like it was a drum in the hands of a hyperactive four-year-old.

This was far from the most dangerous task she’d ever undertaken.It was certainly nothing compared to Atlantis. But there was something in the cold air, in the strange glow, in the eerie and nameless statue, buried deep in the earth, that made her blood run cold as ice.

Focus on the mission, she told herself. Just get the jewel and leave.

She reached out a hand for it, her fingers sliding over the luminescent surface. Carefully, she began to lift it from its resting place.

The statue turned its head to fix her with two stone eyes.


Word Count: 150

This is for Flash Fiction for the Aspiring Writer. Thanks to Priceless Joy for running the challenge and Jade M. Wong for providing the prompt photo!

It’s also a sequel of sorts to my Quest for Atlantis serial. Check that out if you want more Celeste!

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue 

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four 

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Epilogue

The Fragments Fit Together

As I write this now, I am sitting in a hospital bed, alone with my old notebook. There are people constantly pestering me – and I suppose Demetrios as well. They want to know our story: how we came to be there in the heart of the sea, what we saw in the storm, what became of Megalos and Stamatios. There are no easy lies to give them, so it will have to be the truth.

I am writing this because part of me still can’t accept that truth. Atlantis seems almost like a dream now, a strange nightmare of clockwork and lightning and time’s ever-burning flame. By putting pen to paper, I hope that I can make some sense of it all. It’s almost working.

I’ve found myself in a whole new world now, a new time. My era is gone, as much dust as Atlantis is. Time passed us by, decades gone in the blink of an eye. Although I still can’t believe it, I am writing these words in the twenty-first century. History has swept past, full of events I can’t even begin to conceive. A screen is hanging in the corner of my room, a television thinner than some magazines I’ve bought. I’ve seen people checking little boxes that fit in the palms of their hands and calling them phones. How can something that small be a phone? And how can it work without a line?

Everything I’ve seen is as incredible as what I saw in Atlantis. It’s just as alien, if not more.

I saw Demetrios once. He came by to visit me and smiled. I held his hand.

They say the past is another country. The same is true of the future. We are foreigners here, two mariners shipwrecked in time’s storm.

But I think if I had to stranded with someone, Demetrios isn’t so bad.

Together, we can face this new world.

We’re explorers. Facing new worlds is what we do.

I’m ready to talk to the men in dark suits now. I’m ready to tell them what I know.

And then?

“Prometheus” is still out there. Things like Atlantis and that sphere exist. The “gods,” whatever they were, are out there as well.

Someone will need to deal with them, to make sure nobody like the Queen ever gains that sort of power again and to ensure that there are no more hidden surprises lurking in our history.

And I’ll need something to do in this new world.

Perhaps I can save it one more time.

 

THE END

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Part Seven

Part Eight

Downfall of Atlantis

The machinery all around me groaned furiously. It was like the roaring of a tiger waiting to pounce. I knew what it meant. Death was coming: death in fire and bronze and lightning.

Still, I had saved the world. I’d stopped the Queen from using the sphere. I’d rejected the chance to use it myself. Even if nobody ever knew what had happened here, I had saved them all. I’d protected time itself from the force of the invaders.

That’s one hell of a legacy. I hope it would have made father and grandfather proud. I closed my eyes and whispered the words.

“If I am to perish, let it be in battle. Let it be for a good and righteous cause. Let me not show fear before my foes. Let me go out roaring as a lion.”

“Don’t go roaring just yet!” Demetrios yelled.

I opened my eyes and laughed for joy. There he was, Stamatios beside him.

At that moment, it struck me how incredibly beautiful Demetrios was. Not beautiful as the Queen had been, regal and furious and controlling, but a more earthy, real beauty, a beauty with sweat on his brow and bruises on his skin.

There was little time to dwell on that.

“Come on!” Stamatios yelled.

He was shoving with all his might, shifting the doorway. It squealed as he wheeled it just far enough for me to squeeze through. I grabbed the spear from the floor and darted past him like an arrow through a slit in a castle wall. With a grunt of exhaustion, he let it go and metal whirred away, bolts flying loose behind it.

I looked at the pathway ahead of us. It was jammed, the metal shaking as it strove to break loose. At any moment, it might have the strength to do so. Each wall and disc might slip from its chains, bloodhounds racing after whatever prey they might find. In that event, I had no doubt we’d be reduced to bloody slivers.

I just had to have faith we’d make it through.

I slipped hands into theirs and gave each of them a look.

“Together,” I said.

And together we raced forward, feeling like the Israelites marching through the split waves of the Red Sea, knowing what the waves could do if they were let loose, but having faith that they would stay put.

We ran until we reached the stairs and clambered up into the throne room where we’d been held prisoner. It was shaking there too. The glass of the windows had been shattered and the throne was knocked over, some of the decorative elements smashed beyond repair.

“Look!” Demetrios pointed to the guards lying on the smooth floor.

Or rather, to what was left of them. They’d been reduced to dust, their armour and weapons slowly decaying around them. All around the room, the bronze was turning green, beset by corrosion. It would soon crumble to nothing.

“Time,” I whispered. “The Queen is getting what she wanted. Being in the mechanism protected us.”

“And what’s protecting us now?” Stamatios asked.

“Nothing,” I replied. “Which is why we should run.”

And run we did. We ran through corridors and winding streets, through clouds of dust and stone. The storm was wailing furiously all around. Winds swept in low, sweeping the piles of dust aside. Lightning flashed all around, the clouds moving far too quickly.

In the heart of the storm, above the peak of the citadel, I saw the flame, burning and crackling like an atom bomb. To look at it was to peer into fury itself. It was the wrath of time and hurricane, a wrath unbound by mortal thought. It was pure elemental rage.

“There!” Stamatios shouted. The boat was still sitting on the shore. Rust had begun to crawl over it, the wood sagging and rotting, but it was still seaworthy, if only barely.

“Quick!” I called, leaping aboard. “Before it’s too late!”

Demetrios clambered in after me. With a typhoon’s strength, Stamatios shoved the boat into the water and then jumped in, trying to start the engine.

There was nothing. Not the slightest response.

“It’s too late,” Demetrios said. “The engine’s dead. And soon we will be too.”

I looked back at the crumbling citadel and the sprawling streets slowly being leveled by the winds. Smoke rose high over the dead of Atlantis.

We were witness to the end of an empire.

“No!” Stamatios roared. His eyes were full of fury as he eyed the storm’s edge. Just for a moment, the clouds parted, revealing blue seas and a bluer sky. It was a glimpse of freedom, less than a hundred meters away.

Stamatios grabbed the spear from my hands. I’d half-forgotten I was still holding it. Like Zeus of old he held the shaft aloft and then plunged it down into the engine. Lightning tore through the boat and the engine gave a great roar. With a cloud of black smoke, we shot forward. The engine would burn out in a moment, but that single burst of speed was all we needed.

Stumbling back, Stamatios let the spear drop from his hands. They were black as coal. The lightning hadn’t just shot through the engine.

Demetrios caught him as he fell.

“You fool,” he said, his voice heavy with sorrow.

Stamatios smiled weakly. “I will die on my seas, under my skies. That is all I ask for.” He looked at me and pointed ahead. “Keep the course, Celeste. Keep the course.”

I nodded and leapt to the wheel. It was his last wish and I would honour it or die trying. I kept my eyes upon the blue skies ahead. Black clouds rolled in from either side, lightning flashing like enemy bullets. With each second that rolled past, the gap was growing narrower.

We shot through, the stern of the ship scraping through clouds. Blinding light jabbed at my eyes and I was flung back.

As I lay on the deck, the wind knocked out of me, Demetrios pulled himself to his feet. He looked up at the sky, the blue sky with a yellow sun, ordinary as houses and telephones, and let out a thunderous laugh.

“We made it,” he said. “We made it.”

Stamatios smiled and whispered a few words in Greek. I knew enough to tell their meaning.

“Home,” he had said. “I die at home.”

His eyes closed and never opened again.

Behind us, lightning flashed like the sun and thunder gave one last almighty cry, deep enough to shake the very earth. Then the clouds vanished, leaving behind only a clear sky.

I looked at Demetrios and he looked back at me. We were two alone in the world, the only ones who had beheld Atlantis and lived.

I took his hand in mine and we sat there, waiting for rescue.

To be concluded…

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four 

Part Fire 

Part Six

Part Seven

Fire of Atlantis

Imagine for a moment you were me:

Music came from the flame, the most beautiful song I’ve ever heard. It was a noise to make the stars cry.

Time stood still.

You hovered in midair, looking at the wall behind you: solid bronze. At the speed you were going, there’s no way you survive. Your brain would become soup inside a shattered skull.

This was the end: the second before your death stretching out forever.

Yet you knew this wasn’t just how death felt. This was the flame, the living thing made of time and energy floating in the center of the chamber. Looking at it was like staring into the eyes of the most beautiful person you’ve ever seen and seeing the whole universe reflected there, made even more bright and beautiful, and as you peer closer, you can see each planet whirling around the sun, and yet you can still see the whole universe. You could see atoms and galaxies, all bound together in those wonderful eyes.

The flame looked at you and smiled. How can a flame smile? I don’t know, but this one certainly did.

You looked across the room and saw the others, also flying back. The Queen was in no danger. She would hit the floor and walk away with a broken rib or two at most.

Megalos was in much great peril. Behind him, the door gaped, leading to the whirling labyrinth. A razor-sharp was coming closer, ready to cut him apart, even as a jagged disk was rising from the floor. Steam and lightning shot through the hole, mixing in an unholy storm of death.

Megalos would die. His only hope would be that it was quick.

Your death would certainly be quick. An impact, a moment of pain, and then nothing more. Or everything more.

You closed your eyes and braced yourself. Death was coming and you would meet it with dignity.

But then you felt something like a wind or the touch of a friendly hand…

And time resumed.

***

Megalos shot back. The steam engulfed him as the lightning flashed. Spinning away, the door hid from view.

I could, however, still hear him. The screams echoed through the chamber.

The Queen hit the ground, landing on all fours, struggling to pull herself to her feet.

Somehow, I wasn’t dead. I looked down and saw little spurts of flame surrounding me, arresting my journey towards the wall. The flame within the sphere had saved me.

“Celeste Kavanaugh,” it boomed. “You saved me. I save you. My debt is repaid.”

The flames slowly dissipated and I was lowered to the ground, a little wobbly on my feet but no worse for wear.

The fire turned its attention to the Queen. The flames grew redder, full of fury and wrath.

“You,” it said, “bound me here in your metal engine. You sought to pervert my power. You separated me from my master. Each second of time that passed beyond the storm… I felt it. I felt it all. Like a bird in a cage watching her sisters fly.”

The Queen stuck out her chin. Even in the face of this almighty force, she showed no fear.

“I am Queen of Atlantis,” she said. “I have served my people. What happened to you was… irrelevant.”

The fire surged in intensity and I shielded my eyes. The rage was too much for me to bear.

“Feel the time stolen from me,” the flame hissed. “Feel it all.”

Lightning struck the Queen and she cried out. I opened my eyes and could not close them again. I stood transfixed, as if staring into the blast of an atom bomb.

Her hair became grey, then white, then fell in faded clumps. Time struck her comely features like the waves striking a cliff. Her skin drooped and wrinkled and dried until it looked like nothing more than dried leather bound to her bones. Her opal eyes were drained of their colour, then rotted to nothing at all.

The Queen’s bones became dust before they hit the floor, swept away on a fell breeze. All her beauty and majesty had been for nothing in the end.

I looked at the fire, struck by awe and dread. It was terrible as death and beautiful as the first flower in the spring.

“My friends,” I said. “Help them. Help us escape.”

There was none of the softness I’d heard earlier now. The fire was lost in rage, the suppressed anger of thousands of years coming of it in waves of heat.

“I saved you,” it roared. “The rest is your own affair.”

With that, the flame rocketed from the chamber, tearing through the roof in a blaze of bright light. It was like watching a bullet tear through cloth. Metal and stone were reduced to smoking dust, falling to the ground in the flame’s wake.

It was gone and I was alone at the heart of Atlantis, surrounded by the whirring of the deadly mechanism. I glanced up, wondering if I could ascend through the hole the flame had left, but the walls of the chamber were too smooth and too hot. I’d have nothing even resembling a foothold even if I managed to avoid melting the skin from my bones.

The only path remaining to me was through the winding walls and blades.

A rumbling sound came from all around me. I could feel it in my bones: a deep shaking, even stronger than the mechanism. Distant shouting echoed down from above, then roars like gunshots and falling bombs. Lightning flashed down through the hole, blazing blasts that had gone astray.

The storm was consuming Atlantis. If I didn’t move fast, I’d be consumed with it.

The beach, I decided. And the boat. We’ll have to chance the storm.

The wall ahead of me shuddered, then stopped. The door was blocked by another wall, the gap far too narrow for even a child to sliver through. Groaning filled the chamber, reverberating in every bolt.

It was the groan of metal pulled to the breaking point. Fire, lightning, and earthquakes had damaged the intricate supernatural clockwork of the mechanism.

The machine had just become an explosive.

To be continued…

Quest for Atlantis Logo

Prologue

Part One

Part Two

Part Three

Part Four

Part Five

Part Six

Ghosts of Atlantis

The spear I cast aside. I had no more need for it. The power of time itself was mine.

I knew right then that I could realize the Queen’s dream more purely than she ever could. I could erase the wars of the last decades. I could unite the world under one flag. I could put everything right. No more rebellions. No more civil wars. No more slaughters of innocents. No more bombed-out streets. No more fear and rations. No more crumbling.

I could fix the world. I had the power. There was nobody to stop me.

Then the voice came, whispering in my mind.

“Celeste.”

I almost dropped the sphere. It had been my grandfather’s voice.

Just a trick of the mind, I thought. It couldn’t be anything else.

“Miss Kavanaugh.”

That was no illusion. I looked up and saw Professor Megalos standing in the chamber. He was leaning to one side and blood was pouring from his elbow.

“Don’t worry,” I said. “It’s all dealt with.”

“No,” Megalos replied. “It isn’t.”

Before I knew what was happening, the spear was in his hand. He pressed a button on the shaft and lightning streaked towards me. I barely ducked in time. The spark struck the wall and the whole room shook.

“What the hell are you doing?” I asked.

He advanced towards me.

“Either you intend to use the sphere for yourself,” he said, “in which case I am duty-bound to stop you, or you have no intent of using it, in which case you are a fool.”

“You don’t understand,” I said. “I’ll fix everything.”

“And what do you know of fixing?” he asked. “What do you know of pain? My country suffered terribly during the war. And now it is tearing itself apart!” He looked at the sphere and stretched out his hand. “But now I can fix all that. I can make it all right.”

I took another step back. A hand tightened around my ankle and I fell. The sphere tumbled from my grip. I turned to see the Queen holding tight to my leg.

All the seductive, regal beauty was gone from her face, lost in a storm of rage. Her eyes were lightning, her face was a grim cloud, her hair was the thrashing sea, and her voice was a clap of terrible thunder.

“You will not stand in the way of my empire!” she yelled. Her elbow slammed into my nose. The cartilage snapped and I felt red-hot pain tearing through my nerves like a firestorm through a dry forest. Blood oozed from the wound, splattering on the floor in a scarlet rain.

The Queen pulled herself upright, moving towards the sphere. Professor Megalos moved to the intercept her and she grabbed the spear from his hands. They struggled, weaving backwards and forwards.

I crawled forward, blood from my nose marking out my trail. Reaching out, my fingers brushed against the sphere.

He appeared before me, not quite solid, but definitely there. If Megalos and the Queen could see him, they were too engrossed in their struggle to mention it. The academic and the monarch were fighting like common thugs in a London back alley.

“Celeste,” he said, “you can’t turn back the clock.”

Sir Jonathon Kavanaugh, dead for years, bent down and touched my face. His fingers felt like morning mist.

“I can,” I insisted. “I can make it all right. I can use the sphere.”

“The sphere is not for you to use,” he replied. “Or any mortal. The world has to move on. It can’t be stuck. Not in the time of Atlantis. And not in the time of your childhood. By refusing to let go, you’re no better than the Queen.”

I looked over and saw the Queen trying to hurl Megalos into the whirling mechanism. The spear lay forgotten by their feet.

“It was a better world,” I said, picking up the sphere and carrying it to the central pillar. “And I can restore it. I can make Britain great again. I can restore the might of the Empire. I can –”

“Celeste.” It was no longer my grandfather standing before me. It was my father, looking as he had in those last days after our return to England. “You were a child. You don’t remember the truth.”

“It was better!” I snapped.

His finger touched the center of my forehead, gentle as a butterfly alighting on a flower.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

I remembered. I remembered the beauty, the elegance, the good times, the way the river looked, the beauty of the sunsets, and the smells of the marketplace. I remembered being happy with my parents in our home, safe from the world beyond.

But I remembered other things as well: the looks on the faces of starving children, the many, many guns that had just seemed so normal back then, the people yelling at us in the streets, full of anger, what grandfather had told me once about the prejudice he’d felt as a young Irish boy in the army, one of the visitors to our home making a snide comment about how I needed to wash the dirt off my skin and me not understanding because I wasn’t dirty at all…

I collapsed to my knees, holding the sphere tight. My father’s voice whispered in my ear.

“The world was never the paradise you thought it was. The world had always been broken. Going back won’t fix it. We need to move forward.”

“No!” I yelled, struggling to my feet. I rushed to the plinth. “No! It was better! It was!”

“Celeste Kavanaugh.”

The shape was no longer my father or my grandfather. It was a being of flame, glowing bright as the midday sun over India. The voice was soft and full of ancient wisdom.

“Let go,” it said. “Break the cycle.”

I had no more time for visions. The Queen and Megalos had seemed me and rushed towards me, shoving each other this way and that. Both were coated in blood and bruises, their clothing ripped. The Queen’s jewels lay on the ground, trampled underfoot.

Hands stretched out towards me as they let out savage shouts. In a moment, all three of us stood around the sphere, our hands on it, struggling.

At that moment, I saw the absurdity of it all. Here we were, three people all fighting for our vision of empire, for a perfect world. We all wanted to wind back time. We were all obsessed.

This would never end.

I understood what the visions had told. We had to move on.

I brought the sphere down upon the plinth, as hard as I could.

The smallest crack appeared in the shining surface. Then it blossomed out like a sapling taking root, the glass fracturing into a winding labyrinth.

“What have you done?” the Queen cried.

The sphere shattered with the force of a cannon and I was sent flying back.

Fire filled my vision.

The flame had been set free.

To be continued…