Paradox is the first book in a trilogy where Aaron meets a Superhero like none other, able to control the very essence of darkness. Soon he is pulled into a conflict that has spanned over time. A conflict between a hero and an organization called the Twilight Core, created from a conglomerate of businesses in their bid for the world. This will bring Aaron across the universe to other dimensions where life has been destroyed by otherworldly creatures, and ultimately define what it truly means to be a Hero.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.50(d)|
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By Nivar Woods
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 Nivar Woods
All right reserved.
Chapter OneA shadow in the Midst
Walking on the sidewalk, the cool night air was carried by a slight breeze creating a very crisp and rejuvenating feel. Glancing up at the stars that shone ever so brightly, it became apparent that no clouds were in the sky while I turned around the corner of an old apartment building on the street. This led into an alley between two of the buildings.
My name is Aaron. Standing six feet, three inches tall I could look a little imposing. Physically in shape, my t-shirt showed off lean, but strong muscle. My family was off on vacation, and I took the opportunity to go out each night and look at the stars.
Home was around the old part of my town. You could easily judge how ancient some of the buildings were with their worn down bricks, and crumbling bits falling off various places. Still, it was home. It was about to get a little strange when compared to my usual nights out. Turning the corner of the apartment building the dark figure of a man loomed before me. He donned black clothing from head to toe, so he was very hard to pick out in the night.
A black hat covered his head. The rim of it turned downward in front, partially covering the black goggles he wore. The goggles were followed by a black scarf wrapped around his face and neck, effectively creating a mask. This item sat on top of a black duster coat, its sleeves ending in black gloves that emerged from the arms, and topped off by a black shirt underneath it which was tucked into black cargo pants. Black heavy boots adorned his feet, his pants falling over them finishing off the presence that he gave off.
In fact, if I hadn't been alert as I usually was, I'd have probably missed him.
I studied him as he lifted one arm to show that he was no threat, or to not be afraid. Still I kept my guard up while trying to discern his features, but his clothing completely hid everything. The darkness of night certainly didn't help. He lowered his arm and waited a moment, perhaps seeing what my reaction was going to be like, before suddenly speaking out. His voice was deep and heavy, with a bit of a rasp.
"You need not know who I am ... but more so, who you are, what you do, what I do, and what you can be. As one of my fellow compatriots once said, 'Eventually, everyone has the opportunity to awaken and become who they've always wanted to be. Most people just hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.' ... indeed, how true those words are. So now I'll leave you to ponder this on your own. Once you figure out who you are, I will find you to begin the next step. Until then, don't bother trying to seek me out. I'm found only when I wish to be found."
With those words, the man's figure seemed to move with the darkness. Spinning around and walking away, heavy boots thudding against the pavement he turned a corner and the sound died as the distance grew between us. It was tempting to go after him, but something told me that those words he spoke were true. This man would only be seen when he wished to be. Slowly turning in place to leave, my mind was busy trying to make sense of everything that had just happened. My thoughts jumbled together eventually, and my feet began moving me forward. Treading home under the little light that the stars provided gave the area an almost supernatural look.
Entering my home I sat down at my computer, where I'm typing this now. Placing my thoughts here and what had occurred during the night. This is where you choose to believe what you are about to read and wish to continue on. If you do not believe, I understand, and you may go on your way. Things happen in the world. Things that are unexplainable. Things like a simple shadow in the midst of the night.
Days moved on while studying my past, trying to learn everything about myself that I could. I changed, such as helping others quietly and without question. Giving comfort where it needed to be given, listening to the problems of those who asked me to listen, and even asking some if they would like to talk about their problems. Some things didn't change. I still pulled my own weight, going about the mostly sunny, bright days. For some reason the sun caused problems for me. It would eat into my skin, and damage my eyes. I was very sensitive to its light, always had been.
Then, one night, while sitting down to report that nothing new had happened recently. The very light itself appeared to dim down, being suppressed by another unseen force. Darkness began to pour in from the windows making me look from one window to another nervously. Then whispers started to speak in my head. Each of the whispers seemed to be the same but different.
Backing into a corner while listening, I tried to discern what they were saying. It was like they were speaking some unknown language and trying to give away a secret, never slowing their chant while I tried to make it out. The darkness began to converge near the center of the room, bringing the whispers with it. Then the same man a few nights before stepped out of the thick blackness that was now swirling like a vortex in the middle of the room, his body still dressed in the same clothing.
My mouth hung agape at this display of strange power, strange ... yet incredible. The man took a step forward, some of the darkness moving with him, shielding him. The lights seemed to suppress it somewhat, but it almost appeared like this person could generate, or form, a sphere of darkness around him. I stood totally still, unsure what to do. Had this man known that I was alone at this time or had this planned? Had he been watching me until he deduced it was the right time to appear?
More than ever now I believed that his words were true, that I wouldn't have been able to find him unless he wanted me too. It was like he could near-perfectly blend in with the darkness that was around him, making him hard to discern, but still knowing he was there. He waited unmoving as the blackness continued swirling around him, pulsing with an almost life-like behavior. Partially stunned, I forced myself to take one step forward. When I did this the man raised his head in confirmation.
"Congratulations. You are willing to face your fears, and most likely any fears in general. You've passed the last test." He said in that same heavy, rasping voice.
After he spoke those words I went rigid, feeling as if the words had pierced me to the very soul. A chilling embrace, but it didn't feel harmful in any way. A soothing feel also accompanied it. I took another step forward, mesmerized by the feeling, almost as if it were pulling me towards the man. Drawing closer the dark blackness of the void reached out to me, beckoning me, trying to draw me closer so it could envelope me.
The man stood there while I moved closer, showing no emotion that was noticeable as I continued inching forward. Within grabbing distance, he reached upward with one arm. However it wasn't to grab me like I thought he was going to do. He just held it there, in a gesture showing that it was my choice to take hold of it. I watched his hand carefully, studying it to make sure there were no weapons. Who was I kidding? This thing or person could control darkness itself. I'm pretty sure that was his weapon.
Feeling compelled that there was no danger I slowly reached forward, taking hold of his hand and feeling that same chilling, but comforting stab when I touched it. The black vortex pulsed ever more violently now. Looking at it I realized there was probably no turning back. I got a distinct feeling that the man, whoever he was, was smiling behind that darkness and black scarf that he wore. Not a bad smile, but one of genuine care and happiness. He slowly reached up and placed his other hand on my shoulder, making one last simple statement, "It's time."
"It's time," the last words that had reached my ears before I was engulfed in blackness. The very void that pulsed, collapsing down on me, pulling me in deeper and farther away from the world that I knew. Filled with that same cold yet warm sensation, and sent spiraling onwards into its thick nothingness. Slowly I began to lose focus. Not just focus on where I was, but also who I was, where I was from, and what had happened.
I grew fainter as time passed. Almost losing myself to the strange comfort that the void provided, and then feeling as if I was ripped from my place in that darkness by falling and hitting a cold concrete floor. Then I was being lifted upward into the cool air of this new place. I opened my eyes weakly, struggling to keep my eyelids up. They felt as if I hadn't used them for many years. Then I saw the man that had said those words which seemed so just as long ago.
He was reaching out towards me, but I wasn't being lifted by him, I realized. He had his arm outstretched before me, while that same black substance poured out from where his hand should have been, and was lifting me off the ground, setting me gently into some sort of bunk. Glancing around slightly I noticed we were in some dimly lit area with hardly any light. The only light emitted was from small candles, and one or two lights which appeared powered down. They hung from multiple sections of a concrete wall, its cold surface extending beyond my view.
Attempting to sit up, the muscles in my body refused to respond. The man spoke with his heavy, rasping voice. "Don't bother. That was your first trip into my realm ... or power, if you prefer. Many would have died or succumbed to it. Yet, I had you prepared. Rest for now, and regain your strength. Soon we will begin your training." He said, his voice seeming to grow softer near the end.
"T-training?" I somehow managed to utter out. I heard him chuckle softly to himself, as my eyes grew even heavier. Closing them and listening to the slight chuckle, I began to slip away into sleep.
The last thing I heard was his soft chuckle ending, and the words, "I was right to choose you for this."
Once there was a man who pronounced that he had a dream. I also had a dream. I'm fairly certain that my dream was far different from his. My mind swam with images as I slept. I was sleeping, wasn't I? How else could I explain the images flashing before me?
They were marvelous, titanic battles. Thunderous crashes rang all around me. Lightning seemed to pierce the air. Fire flew from another direction, striking someone or something, that let out a roar. The sound of charging muddled with weapons blaring. It sounded like a war was taking place.
The images danced before me, showing the same man that had spoken to me. He winked in and out of the thunderous battle. Defeating one contender then warping on to the next. Wherever he moved the dark followed him, the strange and marvelous power always at his beck and call.
Suddenly I saw lights flash on, extremely large ones, spotlights perhaps? They converged on the dark being, and as they did so the light from the beams diminished while his dark powers also shrunk back from battling it. More lights, far more, turned on him, his mighty power shrinking back farther from it all. He tried to fight the best he could without it, but was soon overpowered by hordes of soldiers. At least that's what they appeared to be with their heavy combat boots thudding on the ground, and strange uniforms along with some kind of gasmasks covering their faces.
With a cry of despair the strange power collapsed in on its master, hiding from the light. The uniformed soldiers grew closer together on him, struggling with the man that they outnumbered greatly. With one last roar of determination the man threw his arms outwards. The dark-like mist exploding outwards from him, as he fought against the beams of light and engulfed the soldiers near him where their screams of terror rang outwards.
Eventually the dark was soon forced back by the bright beams of light, leaving empty uniforms where soldiers had been engulfed by the spheres thick substance. The soldiers that had retreated away from the sphere would only hesitate for a moment while eyeing the uniforms. Then they began surging towards him once more. The soldiers closed on the epicenter of the now rapidly shrinking sphere, treading over the empty uniform husks of their fallen comrades. I could make out the figure of the man that controlled the dark power inside.
He was lying totally still on the cold ground making no movement at all in his death-like posture. The soldiers drew in on him, multiple personnel reaching down and grabbing him, lifting him up. One individual stood out from the soldiers, his uniform slightly different from the others signifying he was an officer. His consisted of more red then gray and black, which were the soldier's main colors.
This officer reached up, removing his own mask to reveal the face of a man. His face quickly changing from a composed looking manner to a sneer, as he opened his mouth and began speaking. I strained to listen, but couldn't hear anything. He reached down and took something off of his uniform, sending a blow across the captured man's face with the item. Afterwards the officer reached up, grasping the black scarf and tugging it lightly as if taunting the captive.
I grew cold, a terrible feeling surrounding me. Making me think that whatever lied behind that scarf should stay there. I began to yell and scream, but nothing came out. No sound at all. I could feel my mouth open and close, my lungs wringing themselves out to produce even a whisper, but still the silence pressed on. Attempting to twist and turn, my body seemed to be frozen in place, with only my mouth able to move.
Then my eyes grew wide, as the officer turned his head, his sneering face turning into one of surprise, if only for a moment. He reached forward and pointed directly at me, as one by one the other heads slowly swiveled around, their strange masks staring straight at me. The officer without the mask began to speak barking orders out, and a small detachment of men started moving towards me.
I screamed and attempted to move once more, but my body held still. As the soldiers rushed towards me I began to submit to defeat, when I noticed the man who controlled darkness slowly raise his head, looking at me. I called out to him for help, struggling once again to free myself from the invisible bindings that held me. The soldiers grew near enough that I could see their eyes looking at me through the goggles of their masks, reaching out for me with their arms, trying to detain me. Using the last of my energy I made one more pathetic jerk to free myself....
When I shot upwards in bed, making it about halfway up before my back muscles refused to go any farther. Letting out a groan of pain as I settled slowly back down, a cold sweat beaded my forehead. Struggling to move one of my arms to wipe the sweat off, all I could manage was a slight twitch. Letting out a sigh of relief I turned my head slowly, realizing I was back in the bunk where the man had placed me.
The cold concrete walls emitted a feeling of solid safety, as if no one could ever harm me here. Moving my eyes around, taking in all the detail I could, there was the faint dripping of ... water? Suddenly realizing how thirsty I was I struggled to twist my head towards the dripping sound. It appeared to be coming from a dark hallway, the dim light ending at the door of the room I was in. Pitch blackness took over from there.
Shouting out in terror as the sweat was somehow wiped from my forehead I turned my head quickly around and saw the man standing next to my bunk. He held what looked like a piece of cloth, probably what he had used to wipe my forehead. Gazing past him at the concrete wall I shuddered realizing that the pitch black hallway was the only way in or out of the room, and he'd somehow gotten in without my knowing.
I attempted to lean up and speak, but he reached down and made me stay put. I had to tell him about my dream. Opening my mouth, I spoke in a dry whisper. "I ... I had a dream. At least I think it was a dream. It started out like a battle and then-" He cut me off by raising his left hand, and producing a cup of water with his other. He placed the cup to my lips, motioning for me to drink.
He watched then spoke while I gulped down the liquid. "That was no dream, at least none that your mind would have produced on your own. I know what you saw, and what it all means. In fact, that was part of your training. It will all make sense in time, and only fully through time. There's only so much I can explain."
Excerpted from PARADOX by Nivar Woods Copyright © 2012 by Nivar Woods. 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.
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Table of Contents
ContentsA Shadow in the Midst....................1
Into the Heart....................59
Friend or Foe....................92
The Realm of Darkness....................100
A Long Way to Meet....................162
Lover's Last Call....................168
Failsafe: Green Light....................173
Evil Worse than Twilight....................183
Into the Lion's Den....................186
The Clash of Titans....................195
A Multiplying Problem....................200
The Demise of One....................218
In the Light of Darkness....................223