The decision is easy. His brothers' soul and the ability to eliminate evil is motivation enough to forego experiencing paradise. Only one destination is at hand. He has to enter the belly of the beast and he knows it.
Accompanied by his buddy Jimmy Foster, Will sets out on a journey unlike anything they have witnessed. Not only have they agreed to travel through the ten spheres of the other side, they have also committed to eliminate Malkuth once and for all.
A total eclipse of the sun symbolizes Malkuth's ascension as Will's ultimate purpose emerges. He has to rise to the challenges which confront him.
Malkuth doesn't go easy as he assembles armies beyond expectations. It takes faith and a unique visit to Writers Block to energize Will and his forces as they endeavor to cleanse the book of souls for all mankind.
The quest to eliminate evil drives him. But, it's his perseverance and the forerunner's legacy which elevate him into iconic leadership.
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Rainbow's Shadow and the Other Side of ParadiseRainbow's SHADOW Series (Book Three of Three)
By John Cicero
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2012 John Cicero
All right reserved.
Chapter OneECLISPSING PARADISE
Families came together as the Easter holiday drew near. Summer weather uncharacteristically blanketed the land as warm air shot across the terrain on the Friday before the holiday.
Many had taken time off as beaches filled and playgrounds increased in activity. The warm weather brought many outside as moods changed from the dreary wintry captivity to an uplifting spring fest.
The long weekend ahead had begun as the nation prepared for celebrations across the land.
News channels and internet blogs kicked into high gear as the unique weather, the sudden rise in world popularity of US President H. Tuklam and the upcoming release of Suse J. Rohtua latest novel The Sorcerers Shadow ... Eclipsing Paradise took center stage. Reporters traveled North in an attempt to locate cooler temperatures as blogs reported chapter leaks of Rohtua's latest edition from unfavorable publishers worldwide.
However, the story which overtook the airwaves centered on the eclipse. It had not happened in decades but at midday a full eclipse of the sun on Saturday would blanket the world landscape.
As impromptu picnics arose and book stores scrambled to take advantage of the eclipse phenomenon a group of militants drove their unmarked van into a large warehouse near a port of call.
Undetected, the militants shut the doors to seclude their presence from the public. Once inside three men hustled from the van toward an underground shelter within the warehouse.
One by one the men descended into the shelter. At the base of a ladder the men walked down a long corridor dimly lit by side strips of illumination. None of them uttered a word as they traveled through multiple underground corridors.
At the end of the hallway they walked into a larger room filled with technology and large steel barrels. The barrels were huge and spread throughout the complex. A gigantic digital map of the world spread across the wall. Next to the map twelve plasma screens pictured stages of the eclipse as well as lines of people camped out in front of book stores.
Most of the screens were centered on the bookstores within the heart of cities across the globe except for the center screen. This screen featured a pool of water near an inlet to a winding river in the middle of the Jordan Desert.
The rivers serene and calm appearance provided a contradictory setting for its surrounding terrain of active war and bombing throughout the region.
The men filed into the room and joined the others working on the equipment. One of the men sat down in front of an instrument panel and began to manipulate the eclipse screens in front of him. As he tinkered with the controls stages of eclipse set in motion on the simulated screens.
Stage by stage the moon covered the sun. While the stages unfolded alternate screens depicted the world map as well as varied book store sites throughout the globe.
As the moon traveled in front of the sun the store sites as well as the river in the desert turned to black and simulated chaos erupted within each region. Meteor-like artillery rained on the regions as riots and explosions riddled the land.
After playing with the panel for a few moments of simulated chaos the militant reversed the controls and returned the screens back to their original setting without any chaos occurring.
Satisfied his controls where in working order the militant concentrated on only one screen. The other eleven screens, once again, depicted the early stages of the eclipse as anxious fans waited patiently outside the varied bookstores worldwide.
He focused his attention on the screen to the right of the pool. Underneath each screen a long dark tube snaked its way into the back of each control panel. The tube resembled traditional IV tubing with dark fluid pumped in and out of its core. The screen next to the desert river featured the city of Philadelphia.
- Philadelphia -
The line for the cheesesteak stand next to Dante's Bookstore stretched a block long as the midday crowd hustled to fill their bellies. Eclipse and Sorcerers Shadow fever extended to the city as many ordered their lunches while camped out in front of the store. As the vendor slopped the cheese whiz onto the tender meat hoagie an elderly black man with sunglasses reached into his wallet to pay.
He pulled out his last ten dollars and handed it to the vendor and said, "Keep it, for today is the day."
The vendor gladly accepted the four dollar tip and turned to his co worker and said, "You see what a little eclipse fever does to these people."
The old man took his sandwich and walked to the corner near a couple of homeless men. The men watched as the elderly man severed the hoagie in two and handed the two halves to both of them.
They looked at him in disbelief as he smiled and said, "Our time has come. Enjoy!"
He turned and walked away as the homeless men enthusiastically dove into their meals.
Moments later as the elderly man walked past an open for business Dante's Bookstore. Hoards of fans jammed the entrance as a dark shadow stretched across the city. The man located a park bench near the store and sat down to watch both the chaos in the store as well as the phenomenon in the sky.
As the shadow and clouds grew, the man made the sign of the cross and closed his eyes. Less the thirty yards in front of him meteor-like artillery slammed into the ground as a car crashed into a telephone pole and erupted into flames.
Like a domino effect three more cars barreled into the lead car as flames illuminated the darken city.
Within seconds looters emerged from alleys and explosions rocked the city. The elderly man removed his sunglasses. He did not appear to have eyes but nonetheless could see as the city fell into chaos around him.
As citizens scampered in fear the two homeless men he had helped earlier ran past him without an utterance of gratitude. One of them held Rohtua's edition of the Sorcerers Shadow ... Eclipsing Paradise in his hand. As soon as they past him, the telephone pole the car had hit crashed down upon the park bench sending the elderly man flying into the street.
The two homeless men stopped for a brief moment and without a hint of compassion continued on to join the looters within the chaos. The elderly man watched as the men scampered away. Rain fell from the skies as the elderly man smiled and uncharacteristically laughed like a child.
* * *
- Campground Near the Other Side -
The flame grew stronger as Will tossed a log into the fire. The air had turned cold as the night sky reached its darkest point.
Cayla and her band of warriors sat with Jimmy about twenty feet away near another fire pit. Siron reached for another log as Will stared into the fire. They both could see the chaos within the city of Philadelphia inside the flames as Will said, "Are you sure this hasn't happened yet?"
Siron tossed the log into the fire and said, "Not yet, but if it could be seen here, it means it's been written. It's only a matter of time."
"If it hasn't happen yet, then we have time to stop it." Will said.
"It's not as easy as you think. Once it's written, it's out of our control."
"There's always opportunity Siron." Will said.
"Not if it's written." Siron said.
"That's where you're wrong. You're saying we can't control our own destiny here, I'm saying it's our destiny to control! Opportunity is always there ... you just need to find it." Will said.
"I'm saying, when it's written destinies are predefined." Siron responded.
Defiant, Will stood up and kicked some dirt on the fire and said, "That's where my faith comes in. It's okay to change things up every now and then as long as we stay on the right path. Right?" Will said.
"It's not that easy." Siron said.
"We have to try though." Will said.
"Forerunner, we're here to support you in this quest. I just want you to know what you're up against." Said Siron.
"I know what I'm up against. The real question is, does he?"
Siron smirked as Will continued and said, "So tell me, where do we go from here?"
Siron stared into the fire and said, "If we can get to him the writing can be altered. All of this can be avoided. But right now and as you can see, it's tainted."
Will looked into the images hovering within the fire and saw his brother Bryan. Caped in his dark cloak and still wearing sunglasses Bryan sat near a large concrete pedestal. On top of the platform an oversized manuscript bled over its edges.
"What do you mean by tainted?" Said Will.
"You helped to re-open the Path again Forerunner, but none of it will matter if he can continue to disrupt the words. It will only be a matter of time before he changes them all. He needs to be eliminated Will. It's the only way." Siron said.
Will looked over to Siron sternly and said, "I am not eliminating my brother Siron. We're not even sure he's the one doing this. We need to find another way."
"As long as the blood of Malkuth pumps through his veins he will continue to alter the direction. There is no other way." Siron said.
Will turned toward him in a defiant manner and said, "There's always a way. If we eliminate Bryan, he'll just find someone new to do his dirty work. Naw, we gotta go deeper."
"Deeper?" Siron said.
"Yeah ... we need to get to him." Will said.
"You're talking about finding the source." Siron said.
"If that's gonna stop this, then yeah I'm talking about finding the source. Whatever that is." Will said.
"No one has ever gone that far." Siron said.
"Well, there's a first time for everything. So what's this source?" Will said.
Siron smiled and said, "The source is where it all began. This could change it all. You're talking about affecting everything, everywhere and everyone!"
"If we can stop all of this, then yes!" Will said as he looked at the fire again and said, "So tell me how do we get to the Other Side? How do we find this Source?"
Siron stared into the fire and said, "The journey will not be an easy one."
"I never thought it would be." Will said.
"He knows you'll be coming. Traps will be in our way."
"Isn't that where you guys come in?"
Siron smirked and said, "There's no reasoning with you is there?"
"Siron, he's my brother. I don't care what's pumping through his veins. Our blood will be stronger. Not to mention, you saw what I saw in the flames. We don't have a choice here." Will said.
"No small task Forerunner." Siron said.
"Hey, my grandfather always told me it's not the size of the task in front of you; it's the size of the heart which empowers you. I can tell you now we want this more than him. Now, which way to the source?"
Siron stood up and said, "We must travel west to reach the gates to the Other Side. However, before the gates we have to get through the ten spheres. This is where we can locate the map to the source. Many souls have tried and many have not advanced." Siron said.
"How will we know where the map is?" Will said.
"We won't. It's written the map will find the chosen one when the time is right. We just continue through the spheres until it unveils itself." He said.
"Ten spheres huh?" Will said.
"Each one with its own unique quality. We will be tested." said Siron.
"Can we get more troops?" Said Will.
"Our only hope is word will spread as we get closer. It's not a guarantee though. You will be entering the belly of the beast. It's not wise to go down this path." Siron said.
"I understand. But you know as well as I do we have to do this. I'm gonna get a little rest ... okay?" Will said as he laid his head down.
Siron watched Will close his eyes as he walked over to another log and tossed it on the fire. He sat down and kept watch over the group as an image of a large manuscript appeared within the fire. He stared at the book with a hint of reluctance. After a few moments he placed his head on a nearby rock and watched the fire as they all shut their eyes for the night.
Chapter TwoINTO THE VALLEY
Morning broke as they set out on their journey. Siron led them down the mountainous range toward the ten spheres. It would take the better half of the morning until they would even see daylight as the gigantic Sequoia's and low lying fog blanketed the sunrays into the valley.
The farther they traveled the thicker the fog. Cayla followed close behind with a few of her warriors and Jimmy flanked to her side. Zechariah, Pascar and Cassiel spread out to provide support as Will trailed behind.
Even as the sun fought to crease through the foliage and fog the shear numbers of trees darken their travels.
"Do you know where we're going?" Said Jimmy.
"Siron does. It should open up soon." Cayla said.
"What do you think about all this? Is this the right thing to do?" Jimmy said.
Cayla reached out and grabbed Jimmy's arm as they stopped for a moment and said, "This can never be more right Jimmy. If we don't stop this once and for all, all the work we have done thus far to re-open the path will be erased. We don't have choice."
"Yeah, but this other side thing, have you been there?" Jimmy said.
Cayla looked forward as Siron kept his pace traveling into the valley and said, "No ... none of us have."
"So you really don't know what to expect do you?"
"No, but we'll find out soon won't we?" She continued on as Jimmy watched her walk away.
"Something wrong buddy-boy?" Said Will as he caught up to them and passed by Jimmy.
"Nothing other than all of these people are whacked. They're just like you now. Nuts, completely nuts!" Jimmy said.
Will turned back and said calmly, "You coming?"
With a deep sigh Jimmy said, "Yeah, I'm coming."
He followed as two more of Cayla's warriors trailed behind on the look out for anything and everything.
* * *
They traveled deep into the woods as light became a luxury. Siron located a spring near a large tree and said, "We can stop here."
"It's about time. Hey did anyone bring any snacks?" Jimmy said as he found the nearest boulder to rest his bones.
Ignoring Jimmy, Will walked up to Siron and said, "How much further?"
Siron looked ahead and said, "It's hard to say. This is the farthest any of us have traveled into this before. It can't be too much farther. We have to be close."
"What are we looking for? How will we know?" Said Will.
"We'll know. Believe me, we'll know." Pascar said as he filled his canteen with water.
In the foreground Cayla's warriors spread out. An additional five warriors made the trip with the group and provided support along the way. Each took their positions around the perimeter of the spring.
As they rested Pascar walked up to Siron and whispered, "You realize this is the point of no return."
Siron took a swig of his water and said, "I realized it the second we agreed to escort him."
"We don't have enough reinforcements." Pascar said.
"For where we are going, I'm not sure it's reinforcements we're going to need." Said Siron.
Pascar took in a large sigh and then a swig of his water and said, "Yeah".
The two men stared out into the valley as the rest of the group settled, when all of a sudden one of Cayla's warriors screamed.
As they turned in his direction the warrior had been drug into the forest by a mysterious invisible force.
In an instant the warriors' legs had been pulled out from under him. His screams echoed within the valley as Siron and the rest of the group pulled out their swords in preparation for a battle.
Cassiel and Zechariah acted swiftly as they took off in the direction of the warrior. His body continued to be pulled through the forest by an invisible energy force as their reactions were not quick enough to catch up.
His screams faded as his body disappeared in the wilderness. Cassiel and Zechariah stopped in their pursuit when they both heard Cayla scream, "Look out!"
The men looked up as the warriors body had been hurled from the trees into the open area where they stood. It landed a few feet away from them. They cautiously approached the body. His neck had been broken from the fall. Cassiel pulled his weapon from his side as Zechariah readied himself for the unexpected.
Cayla quickly joined the men as they silently surveyed their surrounding awaiting another attack. The leaves rustled in the wind and provided the only sounds within the perimeter.
Cayla looked over to Cassiel and said, "What was that?"
Excerpted from Rainbow's Shadow and the Other Side of Paradise by John Cicero Copyright © 2012 by John Cicero. 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.
Table of Contents
ContentsChapter one: ECLISPSING PARADISE....................1
Chapter two: INTO THE VALLEY....................10
Chapter three: LIQUID EVIL....................16
Chapter Four: THE NOTEBOOK....................19
Chapter Five: THE SEPARATION....................22
Chapter Six: THE PEDASTAL....................27
Chapter Seven: FREE WILL....................30
Chapter Eight: THE OPENING....................32
Chapter Nine: SALOME'S PUPPET PROPHET....................37
Chapter Ten: WRITERS BLOCK....................43
Chapter Eleven: JIMMY'S REALIZATION....................49
Chapter Twelve: REJUVENATION....................54
Chapter Thirteen: ST. JOHN'S CATHEDRAL....................57
Chapter Fourteen: JIMMY'S FIRST ENCOUNTER....................61
Chapter Fifteen: THE SEVENTH SPHERE....................64
Chapter Sixteen: THE VINE....................71
Chapter Seventeen: THE STRIDERS....................76
Chapter Eighteen: BRYAN'S HELL....................82
Chapter Nineteen: PTEROSAUR'S PREY....................85
Chapter Twenty: THE SOURCE....................89
Chapter Twenty one: VALLEY OF HINNOM....................95
Chapter Twenty two: HINNOM PAST REVEALED....................99
Chapter Twenty three: FLIGHT TO THE HOLY LAND....................102
Chapter Twenty four: INTO THE TOPHET....................106
Chapter Twenty five: THE STREETS OF AMMAN....................113
Chapter Twenty six: THE PIT....................118
Chapter Twenty seven: ROAD TO THE CITADEL....................121
Chapter Twenty eight: LIMBO'S GATE....................125
Chapter Twenty nine: PHILADELPHIA....................131
Chapter Thirty: THE ARENA....................137
Chapter Thirty one: TUKLAM'S ASCENSION....................143
Chapter Thirty two: DEAD SEA LIFT....................148
Chapter Thirty three: DARVASA....................155
Chapter Thirty four: ADJUSTED SIMULATION....................160
Chapter Thirty five: ELIJAH'S HILL....................164
Chapter Thirty six: ENTERING THE BLOCK....................168
Chapter Thirty seven: WITHIN ELIJAH'S HILL....................171
Chapter Thirty eight: THE ESSENCE OF MALKUTH....................178
Chapter Thirty nine: A VISUAL LIFE....................182
Chapter Forty: A NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK....................190
Chapter Forty one: THE WRITER....................195
Chapter Forty two: THE ECLIPSE....................199
Chapter Forty three: THE INFERNO....................202
Chapter Forty four: OTHER SIDE OF PARADISE....................207
Chapter Forty five: THE RIVER JORDON....................214
Chapter Forty six: THE NEXT GENERATION....................225