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The Chamber of Lies
By Bill Myers
ZondervanCopyright © 2009 Bill Myers
All right reserved.
Chapter OneTo the Rescue
Willard looked up from the computer in the back of the rattling RV. "What is?" he asked.
"How can Elijah send us a message?" Thirteen-year-old Piper blew the hair out of her eyes. "He doesn't even know how to turn on a computer." She scowled back at the message on the monitor.
Don't try to save me!
Shadow Man has weapons you don't understand.
Willard, Piper's geeky inventor friend, shoved up his glasses with his chubby sausage-like fingers. (Willard liked to eat more than your typical guy-actually, more than your typical two guys). "Run it past me again. Who exactly is this Shadow guy?"
"WHO isn't the right word," Piper said.
"More like WHAT," Zach, her sixteen-year-old brother, exclaimed. "We heard him speak back at Ashley's."
"Heard?" Willard asked, shoving up his glasses again.
"It's a long story, but believe me, the dude is not something you want to mess with."
"Everything all right back there?" Dad called from the driver's seat of the RV.
He and Mom sat up front as they drove through the twisting mountain road. The past few days had been rough on them. First, they'd had to leave the kids behind while they acted as decoys for the bad guys. Then they'd been kidnapped. Then they'd lost little Elijah. Then they'd wandered deep into mysterious caves and a cavern filled with strange supernatural beings. Definitely not good times. In fact, on the fun scale of 1 - 10 they were somewhere below 0.
But at least they had Piper and Zach, and their two friends, Willard and Cody. Together, the four kids sat at the back table.
"Don't worry about us," Zach called up to his parents, "everything's cool." He shot a look to Piper, telling her to keep quiet about the message on the computer screen. She couldn't have agreed more. After all that Mom and Dad had been through, they didn't need to worry about strange new weapons.
Suddenly, Dad hit the brakes and everyone flew forward.
Piper screamed and nearly hit her head on a cupboard, but Cody reached out and caught her in his arms. As the RV shuddered to a stop, he looked down at her and asked, "Are you okay?" His eyes were worried.
Piper gazed into his incredible blue eyes and half-croaked, "Yeah." She always half-croaked when she looked into his eyes. But it wasn't just his eyes. Everything about him made her a little unsteady on her feet (and a little fluttery in her heart).
Zach called up to Dad. "What's going on?"
"Looks like a detour," Dad said.
A sheriff approached the side door of the RV. Zach rose and opened it for him.
The man stuck his head inside. "Afternoon, folks."
Piper caught her breath. He looked exactly like the homeless person who had helped them in the streets of L.A. ... and the customer who had helped them in the mountain restaurant ... and the angel who had fought for them in the cavern.
Piper stole a look to Zach. The way his mouth hung open, she knew he'd noticed it too.
"Is there a problem, Officer?" Dad asked.
The man nodded. "Highway is out. You'll have to turn around."
"There's a dirt road about a mile back. It'll take you to where you're going."
Mom frowned. "How do you know where we're-"
"And be careful," he interrupted. "You folks still have plenty of dangers ahead. But you'll be okay. You've got plenty of folks looking out for you."
It was Dad's turn to frown. "I don't understand. 'Plenty of folks?' "
"That's our job," the officer smiled. "To look after the good guys." With that, he stepped back outside ... but not before catching Piper's eye and giving her a quick wink.
Piper could only stare. Who was this man? She moved to the window for a better view. But by the time she arrived, he was gone.
* * *
"They are coming thisss way."
Monica Specter stared across the picnic table to Shadow Man. Looking at the massive bulk of darkness always gave her the creeps. Actually, looking at him didn't give her the creeps, not being able to see him did. Well, at least not all of him. There was something strange about the way the man always sucked up light-even in the brightest day.
"Want I should hurt them?" Bruno, her brainless assistant, asked. He sat on the bench beside her. To make his point, he reached into his coat for his gun. A thoughtful gesture, if it hadn't been for the soda can sitting on the table beside him.
The soda can that he knocked over with his elbow.
The soda can that dumped its fizzy contents all over Monica's lap.
She leapt to her feet, wiping the soda away. "You idiot!"
"I'm sorry," he said. For a moment he looked puzzled, wondering if he should help her or use his gun to shoot the off ending can.
Shadow Man saved him the trouble. With a wave of his arm, he sent Bruno's gun flying out of his hand and into the side of Monica's parked van. It gave an ominous THUD then fell to the ground.
"Your weaponsss are of no ussse," he hissed. "Not in thisss battle."
Monica glanced nervously at her two assistants: Bruno, who was as big as he was stupid, and Silas, who was as skinny as, well, as Bruno was stupid. The three of them had spent many days tracking down Elijah. And now, with the help of Shadow Man, they had finally captured him.
But instead of looking scared, the six-year-old sat on a nearby rock, humming happily to himself. Talk about strange.
Stranger still, Monica had never heard Elijah speak. In fact, she was beginning to wonder if he even knew how.
A low rumble filled the air. A vehicle was coming up the dirt road that they'd parked alongside.
"Is that them?" Silas asked.
Shadow Man grinned. "Yesss. They've come for the boy."
"Shouldn't we do something?" Monica screeched. (She didn't mean to screech; it was just her normal voice). "At least get the brat out of sight."
Shadow Man turned to look at her. At least she thought he was looking at her. It was hard to tell with his eyes always in shadows.
"After the accccident, I ssshall take care of the child. You three will ssstay behind and sssearch for sssurvivorsss."
"Accident?" Bruno said. "I don't see no accident."
"You will." Shadow Man smiled and for the briefest moment Monica thought she saw teeth ... or was it fangs? "You will."
The rumbling grew louder.
Shadow Man turned to Elijah. "Boy. To the vehicle."
Monica watched as Elijah rose and turned toward Shadow Man's enormous Hummer. The child's legs began walking, but they seemed to move against his will. He tried to stop, but one stiff step followed another until he arrived at the truck.
The driver, a huge bald man who stood guard, opened the back door.
Monica cleared her throat nervously. "Shouldn't we hide too? We're right next to the road, so they're bound to see us."
"There isss no need. The crasssh ssshall prevent it."
"But I don't see no crash," Bruno insisted.
"Watch and be amazzzed ..."
Excerpted from The Chamber of Lies by Bill Myers Copyright © 2009 by Bill Myers. Excerpted by permission.
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