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The dreaded Necronomicon, a book of fable said to contain all the ancient knowledge of the Sumerian civilization has surfaced and fallen into the hands of four teenagers in a small Texas town. Tonight, after years of studying its dark teachings in secret, they gather to call back to Earth those Gods that tried to ...
The dreaded Necronomicon, a book of fable said to contain all the ancient knowledge of the Sumerian civilization has surfaced and fallen into the hands of four teenagers in a small Texas town. Tonight, after years of studying its dark teachings in secret, they gather to call back to Earth those Gods that tried to enslave humanity over ten thousand years ago, and in turn become rulers themselves.
Under threat of his life, Tristan helps them complete the ritual; but does that mean it is too late to stop this apocalypse? With Evelyn, whose past and future seem inextricably linked to Tristan, their friend Hunter and a host of surprising paranormal helpers, Tristan will race against murderers, monsters, and time itself to shut the ancient gate before our evil creators are upon us again.
"Do we have everything?" asked Malaki, pulling on a ceremonial-looking black robe and adorning his neck with several amulets and necklaces displaying strange symbols.
"Most of it is already at the pit. Malaki, don't you think we should wait until we get there to get all dressed up? You know, the whole secrecy thing?" Tara said more than asked, one dark eyebrow cocked. Everything about her was dark: dark hair, dark eyes, comparatively dark skin to the others, and her face was stoic, despite the excitement she must also be feeling. No one could be apathetic on a night like this.
"Oh, right," said Malaki with a nervous noise that might have been a laugh. "Just got a little carried away." He quickly removed his robe and tossed it back into a bag that sat next to him. Underneath he wore some faded, torn jeans and a baggy tee shirt with a picture of Ozzy Osborne and the words 'Got Blood?' at the bottom. His baggy clothing hid his carved muscles, but they all knew that his quick temper and long-term strength training made him a formidable man to almost anyone.
"You guys shut up and let's go before my parents wake up," Celicia whispered urgently. The years of studying and practicing ancient religions had given them all a sixth sense of varying degrees, and right now she sensed some presence that, while not threatening, insisted they move. The rituals that were to be done tonight must be done at exactly the right time, and they couldn't be late.
Tristan, the fourth of the friends, had been standing in a corner, quiet. They were all too excited to notice, but he had been sensing the new presence for a while, and he wasn't sure what to make of it, other than it was a night-dweller. Night-dweller is simply a fancy name for someone or something that's aware—and makes use—of the nocturnal magickal powers which go unnoticed by most. It's a term that Tristan had learned early on in their study of ancient religions, particularly that of the Sumerians. Whether it was good or bad; well, those are relative terms. It seemed to be there to aid them though, so he shrugged and followed the others out the door, deciding if it wasn't going to hurt them, there was no cause for concern. Perhaps it was just excited.
Tonight the ancient powers that they had worshipped and served for so long would finally be freed from the bars of the Universe itself. The time was finally here when Earth should undergo a change. A change that, for the night-dwellers, would be the dawning of a new age; a future where darkness would be eternal, magick would be the true power of the world, and they would be worshipped. Oh, how they had waited for this.
* * *
Evelyn Sarinna Javenson yelped as she stumbled over a tree root protruding from the forest path she was hiking along. "Son of a mother," she muttered to herself as she regained her footing and looked back to see what she had tripped over. The trees kept the light from the moon to a bare minimum, and she couldn't see much beyond a couple feet in front of her. The underbrush grabbed at her jeans as she trekked slowly on, enjoying the nighttime flowers and the trees as she went, and hoping her dad didn't wake up to find her gone. Seventeen years old and bored living in the little town of Brookshire, Maine, the only excitement to be found was here. The forest, in the middle of the night, seemed to come alive, and she stood for a moment, listening to the chirping insects and scavenging animals. She took in a deep breath, and continued her walk. Looking up at the trees, she thought to herself that she must be the opposite of a claustrophobic person. The branches blocked the sky and seemed to hold out all light, enclosing her here in the darkness, and she loved it. This was the only place she felt protected. She walked on, occasionally reaching up and brushing her hand through low hanging leaves, trying not to think about the coming morning when she'd have to return home.
* * *
Dan and Sarah Louis, Celicia's parents, slept soundly in their dark room. Sarah thought she heard voices, but deciding they were just part of her dreams, she snorted and rolled over, instantly falling back asleep. Dan, on the other hand, was haunted with nightmares that night. He usually didn't remember his dreams, but tonight he was overwhelmed by images of dark figures, excited voices, strange, unknown places, and a jolt of terror that woke him so abruptly he almost fell out of bed. He was breathing hard and his pajamas stuck to his back with sweat. He stared into the darkness of his bedroom, unable to forget what he had seen. It had seemed so real. He didn't want to think about it, but the image was burned into his mind like a photograph he was forced to look at. He had seen Earth but ... different. The sky was dark forever, the plant-life had all but died, and there were people in torn up clothes, dirt all over them. The people were crying, hurt, and seemed enslaved. Some were working, some doing rituals, chanting in another language around huge fires of different colors, and he even saw one woman being raped by a monster, one of the beings that seemed to oversee the humans. He couldn't get her screams out of his head.
The image he couldn't get out of his head, though, was that of the people's eyes. Their eyes had a bluish light to them and a depth that he had never seen before. It looked as though their eyes were tunnels that just had blue light shining from inside. Just as he had wondered what these creatures might be, one had turned around and he had seen something much worse. His daughter, his own, precious daughter, Celicia, had been one of these people. She had turned around to him, grinning in such a way as to make her look.... inhuman. Her eyes had glowed blue and her teeth had been pointed. Then the dream had changed, and the last he had seen of this world was the image of his daughter laughing at him, not laughing happily, like a child, but cruelly, like a monster. This world had suddenly dissolved and everything around him was black. Then, in the distance, he had seen a gate; a huge, black gate, similar in style to a rot iron fence, but definitely not made of iron. It sat in the middle of space, so it didn't seem like it could keep anything in or out, because it appeared that he could just go around it; but when he tried, the "empty space" to each side of it turned out to be a barrier, only an illusion of the continuation of space. Just as he wondered what this gate might be for, a tendril of glowing smoke crept its way through the bars of the gate, stroking his hand enticingly, and a voice had whispered to him, free us ... the bear hangs low, now is the time. Free us ..."
He shook his head. This was just his imagination, just a dream. Now, as he sat in bed, breathing shallowly and quickly into the darkness, he tried to think of where such a horrific dream might have come from. He saw a horror movie now and then, sure, but he could think of nothing he'd done that might have instigated that. Demons did not exist, there was no giant wall in space, and Celicia certainly didn't have an evil bone in her body. He gave his head a shake and got out of bed. He walked into his bathroom, relieved himself, got a glass of water and began to drink. A glance in the mirror told him his angular, strong face was still pale and his thick brown hair was plastered down with sweat. He sighed in frustration. He was a scientist, a man of facts and reason, and he did not believe dreams had any more significance than the expression of his own feelings. Dreams or nightmares were just scenarios created completely by his own psyche; therefore he could control them if he tried. He did not believe in demon-humans, black gates sitting in the middle of space, or anything else he had seen in that dream, and he did not believe the sweat on his forehead or shivers running down his spine had any more reason than the mere psychological effects of what his own imagination had created.
He stopped drinking. He heard voices. He recognized two of them as Malaki and Tara. What were they doing here? It was fifteen minutes past midnight! He heard a door open and he walked swiftly out of the bathroom, opening his door just in time to see four figures leaving Celicia's room. "Celicia! Where do you think you're going?!" He whispered harshly, trying not to wake Sarah. Celicia jerked her head around and stared at her father for a moment, and Dan did a double take. For a moment he thought he had seen the blue light in her eyes that he had seen during the night, but he blinked and it disappeared. That damn dream. "Celicia get back in your room! I'll talk to you in the morning. You three," he nodded towards Tara, Tristan and Malaki, "get out of my house. I'll call your parents in the morning so you might as well tell them where you've been."
But none of them moved. They stared, not at him, but behind him. He suddenly felt movement behind him, but before he could react, he inexplicably was thrown backward, crashing into the wall, and falling to his bed among the wooden shards of the framed painting he'd hit. He glanced at his wife just long enough to see the blood matted in her blonde hair, the gruesome gashes, which looked almost as if they had been made with large claws, all over her bare body, and the look of terror now frozen into her beautiful eyes. Then he felt a great weight, a burning that made him think he was on fire from the inside out, and his head suddenly hurt so bad he thought he might pass out. He didn't know if he screamed or not, all he knew was his head felt as though it were caving in, and then everything went black and he knew no more.
"Are you guys coming or what?" Malaki and Tara looked after her with uneasy expressions on their faces, and Celicia noticed Tristan still stared at the closed bedroom door, seemingly unaware of everything else. There was no denying her parents' murder was because of them. All night-dwellers were depending on them tonight, including the one that had so violently prevented her parents from stopping them.
Tara tapped Tristan on the arm to pull him out of his stupor, and they followed her down the stairs, glancing at each other but never glancing back up to where her parents lie, motionless. Tristan followed, but he looked back. He wanted to check on them, make sure they were actually dead and not just hurt, in need of help. A very deliberate cough from Celicia pulled his gaze back forward, and the look on her face told him going back was not an option. She did not wait for them, but was already through the front door when they got to the bottom of the stairs.
"Maybe you should let me drive," Malaki said kindly to Celicia when she opened the door to the driver's side.
"Why?" She replied in a surprisingly calm, and sincerely confused, voice. At this point, Tristan wondered to himself if her denial of the last few minutes was creeping anyone else out. Tara stepped close to Celecia, her face only a few inches from Celicia's own.
"Because if you haven't noticed, your parents just died," she said harshly. Sometimes, the only way to get a person to see reality was to shock them with it ... and Tara was good at that.
"Yeah ... I didn't really like them anyway," she responded, seemingly undisturbed. "Besides, they were going to try to stop us, what else could have happened?" As they talked, Tristan, who was trying to stay unnoticed, felt the queasiness in his stomach grow, until he backed away quickly and slipped around the corner of the house, just in time to release the churning contents of his stomach behind some bushes. The others seemed to have adjusted to the idea of taking lives, but Tristan's reaction was always the same, something he could never allow the others to know. He leaned against the wall of the house, breathing deeply, trying to get himself under control, and trying not to think about what had gone so wrong in life to lead him here. After a moment, he sidled back to the group and they pretended to ignore him as they continued to try to get some kind of response out of Celicia. He was sure they knew, though, and glad they had never confronted him. Celicia turned to him, probably because he wasn't ganging up on her. She smiled a wide smile that was tense to the breaking point, and her voice cracked as she spoke.
"Ready to go, Tristan?" He could see the way she struggled to keep her eyes open and her mouth smiling, and it just made her look like she had a crazy nervous twitch. Yes, very creepy indeed. But what else could he say?
"Yeah. Yeah, let's go," he said, in an almost defeated voice, and he looked to the ground, then the sky, anywhere but in her eyes, which had seemed to hold less and less sanity over the years.
During the drive, they were all silent. Celicia tried to turn on her Disturbed cd, a hard rock group, but Tara quickly turned it off. She knew Celicia well enough to know that music was her pain medication, and she wasn't about to let her have it until she talked about what had happened.
They were still all throwing nervous glances at Celicia when she parked the car in the woods, grabbed a few bags of supplies, and started walking.
"What are you looking at?" Celicia snapped at Tara as they hiked up the steep path that would lead to their altar. Tara didn't reply, but quickly looked at the ground, stopping as a snake slithered across the path in front of them. Even the wildlife could sense something was happening tonight. The thought excited her.
"Are you okay?" Tristan finally asked, looking at Celicia with worried eyes. "Maybe we should forget this whole thing, I mean your parents are dead, and you're acting like it doesn't even matter," he continued in a hesitant voice, because he thought he knew what her, and the others' reaction would be to this.
"What?" She stopped, looking at him in disbelief. "We won't have another chance in our lifetime! How can you even suggest that? We've been working for this for years! Do you think stopping now will bring my parents back to life?" Well, at least she knows they're dead, he thought.
"No, but if it could, would it change your mind?" Tristan asked pointedly. Surely she must have had some love for them in there somewhere. They had certainly loved her.
She sighed, smiling to herself and looking around at the trees surrounding them, and finally said in that same strained imitation of innocence, "No, it wouldn't. Now let's keep moving, shall we?" With that, she turned away, a smile painted on her face.
Tristan stared after her. He'd always felt weird about what they were going to do, but he hadn't noticed until now how much they had all changed. When he first met Celicia, five years earlier, she had been quite sensitive. He couldn't believe she could even fake her feelings about having just seen her parents die, yet here she was, carrying out with the plan that was the reason of their death, like nothing was wrong. They, he included, had been responsible for deaths before now, and every time it had added one more nightmare to his night, a few more scars to his body, and another burning pound of guilt in his stomach. Yet he had never been strong enough to do anything about it. He had seen and ignored the growing insanity in the others, and now people they were supposed to love were dead.
Excerpted from THE HOUR OF TIAMAT by Lisa M. Taylor Copyright © 2011 by Lisa M. Taylor. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Posted July 25, 2012
Positives: The premise was great! I loved how the author wove together ancient history with a modern apocalypse story. Her writing style was very engaging and I didn't want to put the book down!
Negative: I didn't like the font used on the cover.